Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Salute

We interrupt your regularly scheduled inane dipshittery for a few moments of real-life, honest to God (Buddha, Mohammed, Bodhisattva…your choice) sober reflection and gratitude.

I’m the son of a U.S. Army officer. I grew up on a series of military bases and towns around the world, places that hummed with the low, steady buzz of discipline and order. I remember watching soldiers on parade during the various ceremonies and drills that characterize active military installations, their instinctive, unspoken camaraderie something I found elusive and comforting at the same time. Not to go full Jessup, but in that atmosphere it's impossible to fail to realize that there really are brave young men manning a post, standing on that wall for you.

I’d find my own faint facsimile of this esprit de corps later as a member of any number of sports teams, but I realized fairly early that my lack of discipline and impolitic disposition disqualified me from military service. Not early enough to stop me from making an ill-fated decision to enter William & Mary’s ROTC program, but pretty damn shortly thereafter. I don’t think I even lasted a semester. I probably still owe the Army money for uniforms.

In a great many ways, I actively resisted the hardness, the discipline, the structure of a military life. And in a great many more ways, I was shaped by it. I probably still don't understand how much.

But I've always been struck by the courage, selflessness, and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces. All the moreso today, as the stresses of multi-theater combat test the physical and mental resources of all from the lowliest enlisted men and women to the most celebrated Generals, even at home, as we found out this week. This is one topic about which the goofy bloggers here at G:TB won't crack wise. Unless we're talking about West Point's football uniforms.

To the uniformed men and women in harm's way and elsewhere, thank you and Godspeed on this Veterans Day. Your sacrifice is well and truly noted and appreciated beyond our capability to express it. We'll set politics aside today and close by quoting the President's words, spoken yesterday in honor of those killed and injured at Fort Hood.
I think all of us - every single American - must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in a time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and stations - all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.

27 comments:

Mark said...

As somebody who grew up next to an Air Force Base and around many military children, I heartily second Rob's sentiments. Thanks to all who have served or are still serving our great nation.

TJ said...

And I said this in the comments on Sunday, coming out of a Veterans Day mass, but I'll say it again and echo what Mark and rob both said here - thank you to all who serve and have served this great land of ours.

Dan said...

Amen. God Bless. And Thank You.

Too Good For You said...

Very nice post. A big thank you to my cousin for serving and doing two tours in Iraq.

Mark said...

America...fuck and yeah.

TJ said...

Cue the Toby Keith.

Mark said...

And now TJ ruined it.

TJ said...

OK, cue the Lee Greenwood.

Mark said...

You'd fit right in down here in Florida, TJ.

Mark said...

Also, to piggyback on last night's comments, the Jimmy the Greek / 30 for 30 documentary was terrific. Captivating even.

Samantha said...

Well put. And how is it that I have been with you for fourteen years (!) and never know that you did a semester of ROTC?

Dan said...

rob's got some splainin to do

Whitney said...

Sammy, you didn't know that about your boy? It was awesome -- he had these little G.I. Joe Doll army boots that we'd make fun of on the freshman hall . . . upon reflection, I feel bad -- our immature jocularity may have cost our nation a great military leader.

Geoff said...

Wait...FoxNews told me that democrats hate the troops. Rob, please explain.

TJ said...

I think we need TR to chime in...if I recall, he had a rather interesting ROTC experience at the ole alma mater.

zoltan said...

I think the TR vs. ROTC story warrants its own post. It's mythic.

Mark said...

This just in: Rob's marriage is built on a foundation of lies and half truths.

Also, Fox News told me Republicans hate gay sex, please explain.

Mark said...

For the record, I wanted Geoff to explain that, not Rob.

Geoff said...

Mark, Republicans hate gays but love gay sex. Hope that is helpful.

Mark said...

Yes, that was extremely helpful. Thank you.

Whitney said...

Is there really any other kind of truth Rob can tell besides a half-truth? I mean, come on.

Geoff said...

The news you need:

•Among those receiving write-in votes for "constitutional officer" in Lynchburg, VA, last week: Captain James T. Kirk and someone named Chester Moistmuffins (Lynchburg News & Advance).

TJ said...

The special booth guest at my annual conference I'm headed to tomorrow?

One James Tiberius Kirk.

zoltan said...

rob's eloquent and powerful post has degenerated rapidly.

Shlara said...

Rob, really nice post today.

And, thanks to everyone who makes a commitment to serve in the military--they and their families make huge sacrifices for the rest of us and they don't get enough appreciation for it.

Dennis said...

The first clue that I didn't have what it takes to make it in the military was when I slept through my 2:00 P.M. Calculus lab during Freshman year. There were other clues that popped up along the way, but I was too stoned to recognize them.

Whitney said...

Our doofus overlord believes that, given any more time, the writers and readers of Gheorghe will only profane such a worthy tribute of a post. (Rob, kudos on your salute.)

As such, Teej has insisted I go ahead and put something up that's mindless, juvenile, and ripe for stupid comments. It's up. Now back to your regularly scheduled inane dipshittery.