As the day when we honor our military vets draws to a close, I hope you will forgive me for indulging in a small rant along with a humble brag.
I come from a long line of military veterans. My Dad, my uncles, and my Grandpa all served. As a child of the Vietnam era, I have no stomach for war.
I would not have done well in the military, because I have a speech impediment.
I am incapable of uttering the words, "Yes, Sir!"
But, some of my generational peers did not suffer from my affliction, and, in the absence of a draft, voluntarily signed on to fight the recent wars that were instigated by a group of government chicken hawks.
And, while I may question their judgement, I respect their choices, and, to drag out that hoary cliché, I thank them for their service.
Which brings me to my rant.
Over the last decade or so, the right-wing, "conservative" noise makers and their followers have accused left-leaning, Liberal, pacifists of being unpatriotic, anti-Americans who, because we were opposed to the wars, we therefore, must not support our troops.
I, personally, have been accused of such things, to my face.
Well, not really to my face.
Rather, from behind the cowardly, semi-anonymity of internet chat rooms and Facebook threads.
And, to them I say, "Suck on this!"
When my next door neighbor, (not the Teabagger who is living off the government safety nets of Disability and Unemployment Insurance,) but the other neighbor, a high ranking Army non-com officer who, after doing a tour in Bush Sr.'s war, got pulled back in to serving not one, not two, but three tours in Jr.'s illegal war...
Here comes the humble brag...
Mrs. Blog and I set out to support our neighbor and his company the best we knew how.
We sent "CARE" packages. And not the usual razors, toothbrushes, DVDs and playing cards, which, we were assured, they had plenty of.
But rather, all the fixin's, (food and decorations,) needed to celebrate whatever seasonal party was on the calendar.
I would like to take credit for this. But, the truth is, Mrs. Blog orchestrated it all.
Do you have any idea how much it costs to send 50 pounds of tortilla chips, and enough cans of Nacho cheese, refried beens and jalepeño peppers to feed 100 solders on, Cinco de Mayo, to Fallujah?
Fast forward to my neighbor's return home.
One afternoon, he shows up at our door, in uniform, accompanied by two of his men, standing at attention.
They presented us with these...
That flag flew over their base, Camp Bucca.
And the medal of appreciation on the right?
The box bears a brass plaque, signed by, get this, then President George W. Bush, himself.
I know, right?
Our neighbor presented us with these tokens of appreciation with a hint of a tear in his eye, and thanked us for our service.
And then, the three of them snapped off a crisp salute.
It was a moment that left Mrs. Blog and I moved, proud and humbled.