Time for a confession. Despite serving nine years in the Navy...I don't feel much like a veteran, especially on Veteran's Day. While everyone else is talking about the sacrifice's made by young men and women that have helped ensure not just our freedom, but the freedom of people in other countries, I am forced to admit that I haven't sacrificed very much.
I joined the Navy right out of High School, and as a single young man, it's not like I was sacrificing time away from my wife and kids. My first two years were spent slaving away in a class room, and then I was assigned to a nuclear submarine. While this meant long hours, and the occasional week or two spent underwater running drills, it never really felt like I was Going into Harms Way. I mean, I spent hours upon hours in a warm, dry engine room, then I went forward to my warm dry bunk, or the mess decks to play cards, or watch movies while drinking chocolate milk and eating popcorn.
This isn't something that our WWI Doughboys would think of as a hardship, even if you have to allow for the fact that there IS some inherent risk in running around many hundreds of feet under the water using a nuclear reactor.
I'm the one in the foreground, with the molestache. The distinguished gentleman posing with us is former Secretary of the Navy Dalton. One of the dubious perks of being on the first submarine of a new class was lots of high ranking folks going for rides. All I really remember is my buddies and I had to stop a game of eucher to pose for this picture...so I guess I did make sacrifices.
So...on this day, I am extremely thankful for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and also thankful that I was never called upon to do so, despite having been willing.
In case you have never seen Team America: World Police, and don't get the buck o' five reference...please to enjoy. Beware...it does have an F-bomb in it somewhere...