When I went into the military,it was to get out off a really bad home situation. I was a 20 year old highschool dropout, way over weight, no prospects but doing the same old job working for my father. I needed a kick in my ass, real serious like.
At first I was going to join the coast guard, but their recruiters were on vacation. The Army's weren't, and they pounced on me like a cat. I was bombarded 12 hours a day by those joe's, and in the end they got me with the GI Bill and a $14,000 bonus.
Even though I risked my life in Iraq, I see what happened there as my duty. I am no hero, no Rambo, I am just an aging vet who did his job, who fought for his country when it was time. When I see a person use their service as a stepping stone in life or career, to me it dishonors all those people that have died in that same service. To me it is sacred, a memory that is shaping my life everyday by how it changed me, not on how it changes peoples perception of me.
I came back from Iraq in 2004, around April 20th, and got 30 days leave immediately. My parents and brother and sister got a beach house down on the Carolina coast to welcome me home, and that is still one of the best vactions in my memory. On the 2nd day we went to a little bar/grill on the island, and we had about 12-13 people there, family and friends who had come out. This DJ/karaoke guy takes the stage, and his name is CPT Sax(I am not kidding). He is in a uniform that is pure Love Boat, and a voice you could here all the way out in the parking lot.
So dinners over, we are having some drinks. and all of the sudden CPT Sax is lkee "Lets all welcome home Sgt. Bair, back not even a week from Iraq!!!" My aunt had slipped him a note about the party we were having, and after that, it was returning soldier night. Differnt people were buying me unlimited drinks, my girlfriend (soon to be wife) so happy for me, everyone looking at me. I felt so uncomfortable, I actually made us leave, claiming I was tired
I got into a fight with a instructor from my online school (I am a full time student), and actually cused him out. I was completly in the right, and in the end when I said lets go see the dean he relented. He asked to start over, and to tell him about myself. As soon as I said I was a vet, it was a slober fest, just pure butt kiss. Again, I felt really uncomfortable, and broke off all emails with the guy unless absolutly necessary.
I was going back over my dairys, and saw that everytime I mention I am a vet, the first thing out is Thank you for your service. Please stop. I am just a guy who did his duty. If you really want to thank me, use that energy to write you congressman or senator, and ask them to increase vets benifits. I am not a hero, I need and want no thanks. I do not speak for every vet, just myself. While sometimes I write about it, it is personal, and not somthing you need to thank me for. Duty just is, and most people need to relize that. That is my belief, and that is what I got out of the war. Taxes are duty, jury duty is duty, fighting and dying for country is duty. Between vets there is no thanks, just respect.
Have fun, Learn facts, Yours truly, The Drunken Democrat