By LARRY M. JONES
Tomorrow we again set aside a day to honor those men and women who have served in the military.
As part of this annual holiday observation, about a week ago my grandson, Reid Sullivan, called me and asked if he could “interview” me about my time in the Navy. As it turned out, he was working on a Veterans Day project for his Texas History teacher, Coach Williams, at Shirley Hall Middle School. Additionally, my daughter, Lori, later told me that my other grandson, Ryan Sullivan, was excited about honoring veterans at school with a parade in the halls, and desserts and drinks for the veterans and their families afterwards. This event is being directed by Ms. Janet Scoggins to increase students’ awareness and appreciation for service by our military veterans at Bill Wright Elementary.
In recent years since the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, I have been witness to a much greater outpouring of appreciation and recognition for the contributions of our military veterans.
This is quite refreshing compared to the Vietnam era when American patriotism and the morale of our service members probably reached absolute rock bottom. Prolonged fighting without well-defined objectives, ordered by inept bureaucrats and politicians, severely polarized our society resulting in riots, protests, and rampant draft-dodging. An estimated 30,000 fled to Canada alone in order to avoid military service. On his first day in office after his inauguration, the idiot president from Georgia pardoned the entire despicable lot.
I have never denied that if given an honorable choice, I would have continued my academic studies and would have chosen a quite different journey through life. Although a reluctant “citizen soldier,” I would not trade this time I spent with what I believe to be some of the finest young men and women America had to offer. I was initially shocked by the credentials and patriotic mindset of my fellow service members, several of whom would never return home. It was an honor to have been included in this august group – American military service members.