A hard look at today’s realities from the dismayed eyes of a veteran.

This is a “word puke” written hard and fast, so please don’t correct my spelling, grammar or writing process. ***I have added a little to this and corrected a few spelling/grammar errors, but this is still very rough****

WARNING!  This is a hard look at some hard issues.  This may offend some, I am ok with that, you are allowed to read it or not read it and are free to be offended.  It is your right.

I am a United States Air Force Veteran.  I say that not to solicit your words of appreciation, but to admit that today I wonder if our service was worth the effort.

From before the very foundation of our country young men and women of character, bravery and valor have answered their countries call to fight for freedom, democracy and the American way.  This call many of us answered freely, volunteering to serve; while others answered the call through the military draft system.

All served.  Many did not return to their home, spilling their blood on foreign soil.

When we entered military service each and every one of us swore an oath to the country we love and serve.

“I, Charles Alderman, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; So help me God.”

The brave folks who swore this oath were willing to fight, to bleed and to die for our country, defending the constitution that binds us all together as the United States of America.

These men and women were mostly in their teens and early twenties, wet behind the ears and without really knowing who they were and what was possible.

These youths were the ones who fought WW1, WW2, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other wars, battles and conflicts.

They fought on beaches, in jungles, in forests, on mountains and in the sand.  They fought in the air, the sea, on the land and both on and under the seas.

They left families and communities behind to be shipped off to faraway lands of strange languages, customs and enemies.

They left their homes and comforts for tents, barracks and trenches.

The placed themselves in harm’s way for the country that had blessed them so much.

It is often said that the men and women of our armed services do not go to war to kill an enemy, but so the enemy will not go to their homes to kill their loved ones.

They do not fight to kill the enemy in front of them, but serve their country and the loved ones they left behind.

Tonight I wonder if it is all worthwhile as the legacy of the American veteran is looked upon with such hate and disdain by many of the very countrymen we served.

Today’s youth seem to have little respect for their country or our constitution.  The actions by many “Americans” over the past few years makes me wonder if the next great enemy of our Constitutional Republic will rise from within.

Actors, musicians and professional athletes use their platform to disrespect the military, the veteran and their country.

There are violent and destructive protests over an American Election.  This is absolutely contrary to the American Traditions and Laws.

Where young men and women were once true patriots, today they burn out flag, defecate on our streets and bring chaos to our cities.

Where we were once fair minded and accepting of others and when things did not go our way, today we cry like little babies and throw temper tantrums like toddlers.

We served for your freedom.  Do not disrespect our service by disrespecting our flag, our constitution or those who serve.

Grow up.  Mature.  Learn to ADULT! Stop being babies.

Maturity is more than a plot on an age progression chart.

I was young once and understand what it is to operate on zeal, hormones and raw emotions.  The truth is that the energy and impulsiveness of youth is a great thing for our country!  The problem comes when it is not tempered by responsibility, faith and wisdom; this is when undirected energy becomes destructive.

The wisdom of experience is a wonderful teacher.  The wisdom of failures and mistakes is a harsher teacher but a great educator.

So many in our world today think they know everything but have not truly experienced life enough to realize how little we really know.  This may be a reality of age or by living in a protected bubble with exposure to only one set of ideals or beliefs, but no real look at different viewpoints.

The U.S. service member is plucked out of their bubble in their youth, placed in a new reality with a large group of others from different areas, lifestyles, attitudes, religions and temperaments; all of who are just as freaked out by the sudden change.

They become a unit, a team, a fighting force and closer than brothers.  They learn, grow and mature together, quickly.  They develop trust in each other because in battle they are all they have.  They depend on their team mates to keep them alive.

Veterans have been placed in dangerous situations where maturity, responsibility and quick, logical thought are necessary to stay alive and fulfill their missions.  Experience comes at a fast pace and lessons are engrained on their hearts.   We know what it is to take dangerous actions and have seen first-hand the consequences of war.

If you continue to bring battles to our street and engage our law enforcement officers with violence you may force some grizzled old veterans to follow their oath to our country and take action.  You may force a young officer to act is ways they had prayed they would never have to act in order to save their life and the lives of those they are sworn to protect.

Perhaps the first action we should take is to introduce a bunch of adult babies to the serious side of our belts and bring some discipline and correction into their lives.

Perhaps we should actually hold people to account for their behavior.

Maybe we should stop giving everybody trophy’s except the champions and allow our teachers to use their red pens and give students the grades they actually earn. The fruit of hard work should be encouraged.

Maybe we should allow our kids the kindness of failure.  Then teach them how to deal with failure constructively, learning to communicate and cope with the ups and downs of life.

Then teach them the history of their country and the constitution.

Here are a few of your first lessons:

  1. You are constitutionally guaranteed to be offended.
    1. Deal with it.
    2. There are no safe spaces.
      1. In today’s world danger seems to lurk around every nook and cranny seeking ways to bring its evil to bear on our world.
    3. You are tougher than you think!
      1. You don’t have to let the words of others anger or damage you
        1. The only way the words or actions of others can harm you or effect your life is if you allow them to make an impact.
      2. If you insist on being a dainty butterfly then you are in for a rough ride.
        1. A butterfly is at the mercy of a strong wind
        2. A snowflake cannot take any heat.
      3. Outside of college/educational systems your cry for “safe spaces” or insistence on a world or workplace free from conflict will probably get you unemployed quickly
  2. Your employer does not care if you feel offended or the president elect is scary.
    1. Your employer cares that you get your work done, earn the wages you are being paid to get your work done and help the company be successful.
    2. When you are no longer profitable for their venture you will be relieved of duty and terminated
    3. When you are gone you will be quickly replaced and the new person will be accepted into the fold; just like you were.
  3. When someone’s words of correction, wisdom and guidance make you feel bad it is called your conscience.
    1. Follow it! Change your direction.
    2. You are not being “triggered” you are being given a chance to be a better person
    3. We need instruction, correction and wisdom. These are part of our maturing process.
  4. We are a country of 350 million individuals from different states, countries, economic realities, races, colors, creeds, religions, backgrounds, tragedies and triumphs.
    1. We are a collection of different people
    2. We will not all get along
    3. We do not have to be the same
    4. I am not required to upturn my life to make you happy; and neither are you.
    5. If you have a different faith and religious practice than I do then don’t join my church. But do not restrict my constitutional right to freedom of religion and my religious beliefs and practices.
    6. If you do not like guns then don’t buy one! But do not infringe my constitutional right to own them and bear them
    7. If you do not like what I am saying then walk away. But do not infringe my freedom of speech.
    8. If you don’t like a certain person, group or corporation then don’t join them. But do not infringe upon their right to gather together.
    9. If you do not like the results of an election then work hard to raise up the candidates you prefer and get them elected in the next cycle.
      1. Don’t burn communities, colleges or our country down.
    10. Give others the right to be who they are and expect them to do the same for you.
  5. Never trust just one source of information.
    1. Learn from many sources and ALWAYS ask questions and seek wisdom
    2. Understand that most of what you hear and read from the free press is biased.
    3. The internet is full of lies
      1. Some news stories are actually satire but written so well some folks believe them
      2. Some are just lies written to change a narrative or create division
      3. Some are just spun, rooted in truth but twisted to fit an ideal or political purpose.
      4. Some are true but hard to believe
    4. Go and learn things.
  6. Learn to love the country that is blessing you
    1. The USA might not be perfect but we are the best country and system of government in our world today!
    2. Respect the gift you are given
    3. Be a patriot.
      1. There is a difference between being patriotic and being a true patriot.
      2. The patriot will offer their wealth, time and life for this country.
    4. You can always ask a veteran what it is like in the Middle East or how Hitler treated his own countrymen to see if you would like to move.
    5. The USA is very tolerant of most, if not all lifestyles. Lifestyles that other countries would bring beatings, imprisonment or death.
    6. We have a great life here; learn to love and appreciate what you have.
    7. Be part of building our country, not tearing it down.
  7. We are a tolerant people
    1. We may struggle with lifestyles and activities we find socially or religiously wrong, but are willing to tolerate this behavior because of the freedoms we all have.
    2. We may absolutely disagree with you, your ideals, your politics or your lifestyle. That is a right we have, as do you about our choices.
    3. What binds us together is not uniformity, it is a Constitution that guarantees our right to be different.
    4. We know that an orchestra sounds best when every instrument plays their part in harmony; not when everyone plays the same note at the same time.
    5. What is hard to tolerate is people who take and take then disrespect the gift and the givers. Parasites are most usually users and destroyers that do little to build their host.
    6. Forrest Gump said “Stupid is as stupid does.” Don’t be stupid.
    7. Be constructive with your criticism and approach to conflict resolution.
  8. BUCK UP!
    1. Stop being a baby
    2. You will not always win
    3. Your candidate didn’t win? Neither did mine, didn’t even make the final big show.
      1. We have a Constitutionally elected President
        1. Whether you voted for him or not, he is your president
        2. Respect the position
        3. Respect the office
      2. Half the possible voters – did not vote.
      3. The half that did was pretty much evenly divided…. A few percent difference
    4. The system plays out and we have what we have.
      1. Accept the results
      2. Stop calling half of your country ignorant haters just because they didn’t agree with you.
      3. Look for ways to serve to make America better.
    5. Love your country
      1. You cannot love your country as you seek to destroy its Constitution
      2. You cannot love your country by demanding your own way
      3. You cannot love your country by ignoring the voices of others
      4. You cannot love your country by burning it down
      5. You can love your country by listening, helping, giving
      6. You can love your country and peaceably gather and protest
      7. You can love your country by serving in elected office
      8. You can love your country by working to make things better
      9. You can love your country by following our Constitution and laws
      10. You can love your country by being a patriot
    6. Life is tough, tougher if you are stupid. Don.t be stupid
    7. You are responsible for you
      1. You are the first person responsible for your education, safety, finances, food and every other thing you will need in life.
      2. Not your parents
      3. Not your professors
      4. Not your government
      5. You are responsible for your actions
        1. Not the mob
        2. Not the organizer
        3. Not the inciter
          1. You
          2. Your choices matter
          3. Your choices will guide your life
          4. Your choices will guide your community
      6. Your success in life depends on how hard you will work at being successful.
        1. I am not responsible for you.
        2. If you want something work hard and earn it

Start with those, then grow into the American Citizen you should be for your country and you to prosper.

The American Veteran loved you and this country enough to write a blank check for everything we have, up to and including our very lives…. for you.

PLEASE, stop making veterans regret their service by your behavior.

Learn to Appreciate.

Learn to Respect.

Learn to Love.