The Eleventh Hour…

Of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month…

Originally Armistice Day after ‘The Great War,’ in 1918, that cost Britain, France, Germany and others most of an entire generation of men.

And this is what that would have sounded like…

Sadly, it wasn’t the ‘war to end all wars’. We didn’t learn and keep doing this stuff, which is why today is actually ‘celebrated’ as Veterans Day. HERE is a link to with some good embedded links for deeper understanding.

This gives as good a description of what a veteran is as anything I’ve seen. I first saw this from the CMC of VP-16 many years ago for Sailors, but it applies equally to veterans…

To understand a Military Veteran you must know:

We left home as teenagers or in our early twenties for an unknown adventure.

We loved our country enough to defend it and protect it with our own lives.

We said goodbye to friends and family and everything we knew.

We learned the basics and then we scattered in the wind to the far corners of the Earth.

We found new friends and new family.

We became brothers and sisters regardless of color, race or creed.

We had plenty of good times, and plenty of bad times.

We didn’t get enough sleep.

We smoked and/or drank too much.

We picked up both good and bad habits.

We worked hard and played harder.

We didn’t earn a great wage.

We experienced the happiness of mail call and the sadness of missing important events.

We didn’t know when, or even if, we were ever going to see home again.

We grew up fast, and yet somehow, we never grew up at all.

We fought for our freedom, as well as the freedom of others.

Some of us saw actual combat, and some of us didn’t.

Some of us saw the world, and some of us didn’t.

Some of us dealt with physical warfare, most of us dealt with psychological warfare.

We have seen and experienced and dealt with things that we can’t fully describe or explain, as not all of our sacrifices were physical.

We participated in time honored ceremonies and rituals with each other, strengthening our bonds and camaraderie.

We counted on each other to get our job done and sometimes to survive it at all.

We have dealt with victory and tragedy.

We have celebrated and mourned.

We lost a few along the way.

When our adventure was over, some of us went back home, some of us started somewhere new and some of us never came home at all.

We have told amazing and hilarious stories of our exploits and adventures.

We share an unspoken bond with each other, that most people don’t experience, and few will understand.

We speak highly of our own branch of service, and poke fun at the other branches.

We know however, that, if needed, we will be there for our brothers and sisters and stand together as one, in a heartbeat.

Being a Veteran is something that had to be earned, and it can never be taken away.

It has no monetary value, but at the same time it is a priceless gift.

People see a Veteran and they thank them for their service.

When we see each other, we give that little upwards head nod, or a slight smile, knowing that we have shared and experienced things that most people have not.

So, from myself to the rest of the veterans out there, I commend and thank you for all that you have done and sacrificed for your country.

Try to remember the good times and make peace with the bad times.

Share your stories.

But most importantly, stand tall and proud, for you have earned the right to be called a Veteran.


The Eleventh Hour… — 26 Comments

  1. Thank all of you all for your service and sacrifice for our country. And for the families who have an empty chair at the dinner table, our condolences.

  2. Pingback: The Military experience | Captain of a Crew of One

  3. My grandfather served during WWI in the Veterinary Corps; his job was to take care of the mules. He enlisted on 29 April, 1918.
    He actually landed in France on Armistice Day. His name was Bill Paulette; he said that there were too many Bills when he landed, so Kaiser Bill had to go.
    He got the flu, while he was there, and was hospitalized. He said he’d wake up in the morning, and the boys in the beds on both sides of him had died in the night and been taken out.
    He departed for home from Bordeaux, France, on the Kentuckian, on 18 August 1919.
    A PARTIAL list:
    My father served as a door gunner during WWII; one of his brothers was a Marine, another made a career in the Navy.
    A maternal uncle served in the Air Force in Korea.
    My stepfather served in the Army during the Korean War era.
    Multiple cousins served in the Army in Vietnam and elsewhere; my oldest brother-in-law was in the National Guard 1969-75.
    I was an Army medic in Germany (1972-75).
    My firstborn son served in Afghanistan (2013).
    My son-in-law ran the reactor on a submarine in the Navy.
    This week, my Kenneth initiated the process for joining the Army National Guard. He will turn 17 this Sunday.
    All of the grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters served in their own ways.
    We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve.

  4. I raise a toast to those who came before and those who will follow after!

    There has been a history of military service in my family back to the Civil War. Some saw combat some did not. To all I am thankful.

  5. A good compilation of the things we experienced over the years. A great THANK YOU to all who served.

  6. The ONLY thing thats saving that Dumb Ass Biden from being removed by his own Party is Kamala Harris’s being even Dumber, and more Inept than Delusional Joe is. So how can they Replace BiDumb?

  7. We have records of family (not all from one side) in nearly every war going back to 1755. Revolutionary War, War of 1812, on both sides in the Late Unpleasantness. My paternal grandfather (born in 1876) served in the cavalry in the Spanish-American war under Black Jack Pershing. Dad, in Korea. Me, ‘Nam.

    I’m watching my BP, so won’t get started on the current administration.

  8. This Veterans Day, a number of us are remembering:
    “Enemies both domestic and foreign” in our oath.
    I was talking to a retired master sergeant here at work and she emphasized “domestic”.
    It appears that the biggest threat to the nation comes from within.

    • More now than in recent history, Ed, and the worst is yet to appear, as we don’t know what we don’t know, on the specifics of what the DE will attempt, although we can predict the general outlines. Got ammo?

      rhetorical question with the people that comment here.


      • I was pleased to find Sunday that when my red dot failed me I was good at 100 yds and iron sights on both my AR and AK, and it only took a couple rounds each to figure that out, That leaves 998 of each caliber.

  9. My father’s five brothers served in WWII. The eldest was thirty when he enlisted and the youngest was eighteen. They were all shipped out overseas except for my one uncle who was stationed in Alaska. Two of my uncles were in Italy on leave and just happened to run into each other on the street! Thank God they all made it home in one piece. My dad was just a kid at the time, but when he graduated from trade school he joined the Navy and was a seabee working on construction in Casablanca.

    My father-in-law enlisted in the Navy during WWII – he reasoned joining the Navy because there was food on the ships! He worked at the Frankfort Arsenal as a machinist, and they told him at the recruiting center that he could enlist and remain at his job. He told them that he couldn’t walk home from work through his neighborhood in a uniform when so many families had loved ones in the war.

    Thank you all for your service!

  10. All- Thanks, and yes, family histories go back generations for military service. We go back to the Revolutionary War with Francis Marion in SC.

  11. this had me crying like a baby. thank you. 29 years, 10 months, 10 days. each line brought back memories, good and bad.