The following letterÃ‚Â is taken fromÃ‚Â a piece that appears in my book, whichÃ‚Â I wrote for Memorial Day several years ago. It still applies today.
Dear members of the US Military past and present,
Thanks to you and your predecessors, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re free. Throughout our history, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve fought for, and won, independence. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve helped put an end to slavery, oppression, genocide and all manner of craziness put forth by every spiral-eyed deranged dictator and tin-pot wanker on the planet.
You can be sent to fight in some of the biggest dung-heap, dirt-bucket and generally scummy areas on the face of the earth Ã¢â‚¬â€œ places that make a septic tank look like the Presidential Suite at the Bellagio.
You perform tasks Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from the incredibly dangerous to the intolerably mundane Ã¢â‚¬â€œ without aÃ‚Â plea for recognition from those of usÃ‚Â you’re protecting.
YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re often called upon to take on unhinged nut cases Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the aberrant likes of whom may make one long for the stability of Courtney Love Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and dive head first into a big bowl of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Crackpot BouillabaisseÃ¢â‚¬Â against knee-jerk fascists, totalitarian fist wavers and psychotic zealotsÃ¢â‚¬â€œ All this is offset by the lousy pay and unfair criticism from Malibu pinheads who will only appreciate your existence when there are Red Chinese tanks sitting in Rob ReinerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foyer.
Though thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plenty of criticism and finger pointing from the genuinely unappreciative, you somehow manage to overlook this to do a job that keeps us safe and free. Only the noblest of human beings understand that, yes, even the unappreciative of service are not undeserving of freedom and protection. That’s America, and that’s the United States military.
Why do you do it? IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure there are many reasons, but there can be only one response: Thank you.