I got to spend some times with some GI’s Monday.
People often ask me if I was in the military. As the son of a career Air Force flight engineer, I am quick to tell them I was “in” the first 18-years of my life.
The military is not for everyone.
But it was great to sit around the table and talk with those who have worn a uniform.
I want to be the first to say, there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who have been in the military and those who have not.
Your military experience
My father once told me not everyone who served with Uncle Sam had a good military experience.
He was talking about those who may not have made it a full four years for some kind of infraction and those who make a career out of it and came to the end of their enlistment jaded by the military system – or worse – deeply scarred by combat.
He always urged me as a reporter to try to figure out a GI’s view on the military before I went to asking a bunch of fool questions.
I was glad to say those I met in the Houston Library and those I ate lunch with in Houlka smiled and even chatted me up about their experience in the service.
There were a happy lot. They were, for the most part, older and wiser. They were proud of their service.
I want to remind this community it is those who did not attend Monday’s Veteran’s Day ceremony that we need to carefully reach out to.
They served their country. They sacrificed. They are still nursing wounds of whichever war they were in.
My dad served during the Vietnam War. I had a brother who was berated by a teacher in front of his classmates for that service.
I’ve always felt it is the families who suffer the most when our bravest men and women are called to duty.
Chickasaw County needs to reach out and make sure all veteran are honored for their service next year.
I love to hunt. I have never been one to blatantly rebel against authority. I was raised in a family where you were taught to respect God, country and those in positions of honor and respect.
You see, I’m from the South.
One of my favorite military stories involves a high school friend of mine.
Steve enlisted in the Navy and in boot camp he got a put with a huge, African American Drill Sergeant.
It seems one day his buddies were lined up and the Sergeant was on a tear.
“Were are you from!” the Sergeant asked the recruit two stations down.
“New York, Sir!,” the recruit replied.
“New York!” the Sergeant screamed. “That’s the filthiest place I’ve ever been! Give me 50 pushup!”
The next recruit was asked the same question.
“California, Sir!” was his reply.
“California is full of fruits and nuts!” the Sergeant said. “Give me 50 push up!”
Steve said he knew this mountain of a man was going to tear his head off when he found out he was from the Magnolia State.
“Where are you from Davidson!” the Sergeant demanded.
“Mississippi, Sir!” Steve responded.
He said the Sergeant stopped and patted him on the shoulder and said “That’s great! Those boys from Mississippi make fine soldiers!”
Reach out to a vet
Life is hard and I have to believe life in the military is harder.
We have service men and women from Chickasaw County spread across this globe protecting the world and your freedoms.
I am sad to say people die in the military every day.
The holidays are a tough time for those in the military. They are tough on their families, too.
I hope you think about sending a card to your favorite veteran this Christmas. I hope you will send one overseas to the guys and gals there, too.
Every year, November 11 is a chance for us to come together and remember. May Chickasaw County never forget.
Floyd Ingram is Managing Editor/News for the Chickasaw Journal. He can be reached at 456-3771 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org