Memorial Day Message from a Veteran
By Tom in NC
I will be out of town on Memorial Day but I wanted to express my feelings about my service to the country.
I am proud to have served in the United States Air Force. It took a sometimes shy, somewhat irresponsible 18-year-old kid and turned me into a man. I worked my way through the ranks, working on jet engines, eventually becoming a supervisor/manager.
Throughout my career I worked with great people and I always was cognizant of my duty to the country. When I enlisted, Jimmy Carter was President and I could see and feel the low morale in the military and the general malaise of the country due to the incompetence of his administration. But we had a job to do and we did it to the best of our ability.
During my first overseas tour to the UK, Ronald Reagan was elected President and at my young age I wasn’t sure what to think of this former actor, now POTUS. At first I was taken in by all the negative press about him and, unlike now, we didn’t have the Internet and the alternative media to get the truth and I guess I didn’t care for him much. But then through his actions I started reading between the lines of the lies and propaganda the media was telling about him and realized that he truly cared for our country and the military. It took a few years but rampant patriotism took hold, I had honestly considered leaving the Air Force after my first hitch, but I had a overwhelming sense of duty and committment. Reagan’s support of the military instilled in me a new devotion to the USAF and to my country.
I returned stateside in 1983 after reenlisting and I noticed a difference in the country. Reagan was still being demonized by the press at every turn but I could see the results of his policies and I liked what I saw. More Americans were working, prices were lower and the overall mood of the country was improving, despite the negativity in the media.
During my second overseas tour the military was constantly on a higher state of alert, the Soviet Union was bogged down in Afghanistan, terrorist attacks were on the rise and the Soviet Bloc was weakening and facing collapse. Ronald Reagan was the model of strength and unwavering commitment in facing down the Soviets during this time. When a bomb destroyed a nightclub frequented by U.S. servicemen, killed three GI’s and injured more than 230 people including 79 servicemen, Reagan launched an air attack on Libya in response to intelligence linking Libya to the attack and Ghaddafi’s bogus claim to a no-fly zone over international waters.
During my final years in the military under George H.W. Bush we launched Operation Desert Storm against Saddam Hussein after his invasion of Kuwait and defeated him. We allowed him to stay in power which was a grave strategic error, we would not fully realize for almost another decade.
During all my time time in the military I was fortunate that I never had to be in a combat zone and I am grateful for that, but I have always appreciated the sacrifices made by the men and women in the military as all Americans should this Memorial Day.
So while you are attending family gatherings, picnics and barbeques this Memorial Day, take a few minutes to remember the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who no longer walk amongst us because of their ultimate sacrifice for the country they loved.