This is why I respect all military people so much, past, present, and future.
Although I never served in the military, my past from the time I was born until now I have been very much involved with the military and feel I know quite a bit about it.
My Dad ran away from home and joined the Navy when he was 15 years old. He was big for his age and was very mature so some how he was accepted.
When his parents finally learned where he was his Mother wanted to get him out. His Dad said no if that is what he wants leave him in there.
He had never been out of the state of West Virginia and all of a sudden as a teenager he seen the world. Egypt, Italy, Hawaii, The Philippines, just to name a few of the stops he made.
The motto back then was " Join The Navy And See The World " and he did just that. He served 4 years and loved it and reenlisted for 4 more years.
On his second tour while at sea he became very sick. In those days you went into sick bay until you would get to a port. When he did get to a port he had full blown tuberculosis from which he never fully recovered from. He was given a medical discharge and veterans pay.
Him and my Mom had reversed roles, she worked and he took care of the house. Several times he had to go the The TB Sanitarium. We didn't own a car so when we would go visit him my Mom and I had to go by bus or train.
He passed away in 1952 when I was 12 years old. He was only in his forties..
Because the only life he ever knew was the military he was a strict disciplinarian, every thing had to be done just right. If I did my chores and he wasn't satisfied it was do it over until it was right. He made sure that I respected my elders, my teachers, people in authority, etc. You better say thank you, please, yes sir, no sir,etc. or you paid the consequences. I am sure there were times when I thought he was too tough but in hind sight it helped shape my life.
Two of my Uncles also served one in the Navy and one in the Army.
In 1965 I opened a Hess Gas Station in Odenton, Maryland right across the street from The Fort Meade Army Base. Fort Meade was also the head quarters for The National Security Agency that employed civilians and military for all branches of the service. In the 8 years I owned that station I probably employed in access of more than a 150 military part time. So to say I know a lot about the military I am not kidding.
I was there during part of the time of Vietnam, seen a few of the guys I knew go there and didn't make it back alive.
To me any one that serves in the military is to be applauded whether they were ever in combat or not. Just serving their lives are disrupted in so many ways. Being away from their families, moving many times especially if they are career military. Some of the kids of the ones I employed told me stories like in 12 years of school they were in as many as 15 schools.
As I travel around Palm Beach County I see way to many of the ex military people on street corners begging for money and I think that is so sad. We spend unbelievable amounts of money on illegal's, people who are healthy and just to lazy to work. I think instead of doing that we should take care of our veterans, especially those that are disabled.