The last two postings have been rather serious in tone, which is in part because of the upcoming holiday, Veterans’ Day. Over the last 12 years, we have fought two wars, and have engaged in operations globally. We also still have veterans who were not part of those years, but served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Grenada, Panama, and Operation Desert Storm. There are the unsung conflicts, such as counter-terror operations predating the current conflict, such as Eagle Claw, Central America, or the re-flagging efforts for tankers and commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf. We’ve had people in harm’s way around the world for years. Many of these men and women are forgotten in the stream of larger events, but they deserve our respect just as well, for they laid it on the line just like the veterans from the more well-known conflicts. Whether you were feeding supplies through the “Stans” or were keeping the Contras going, you were still part of the much larger picture. I think one of the reasons I am in the American Legion, as opposed to the VFW, is that they always saw the larger picture, whereas the VFW wouldn’t even let Vietnam Veterans join for the longest time, because it wasn’t a “declared” war. On Veterans Day, let us all not make that mistake. If you ever wrote that blank check for your life, by putting on the uniform of our country, then next Monday is YOUR day. I sincerely hope you enjoy it, and while you’re at it, raise your glass in that time honored toast of the profession of arms, “For Absent Friends!” ~ Michael S. Pauley
Michael S. Pauley is a Navy brat and an old soldier who served in all three components of the United States Army. Living in Lexington, South Carolina, Michael is now a practicing attorney and member of the United States Naval Institute and the American Legion, Post 154, Tybee Island, Georgia.