Jason Davis: Military veterans deserve our respect

Nov. 11, 2013 @ 12:04 AM

Nearly every little boy dreams of one day being a soldier. I can vividly remember running through a neighboring farm’s 100-acre woods with my friends — toy guns of all shapes and sizes slung over our shoulders, wearing camouflage clothing and face paint, pretending we were at war with invading communist forces from the dreaded U.S.S.R.

After getting pumped up by televisions shows like G.I. Joe and A-Team and movies like Heartbreak Ridge and Red Dawn — which way had to sneak and watch, by the way — we were always ready and raring to go.

Ah, growing up a child during the Cold War.

Along the way, however, something changed for me and all of my neighboring buddies. 

Maybe it was the fear of basic training, the fear of leaving home or the fear of the unknown. Maybe it was just the fear of real soldiers firing back.

None of us went on to enlist in the military. 

But tomorrow is the day to thank all of those who did.

It takes a dedicated person with heartfelt convictions to undertake the nation’s call to military service, despite what many would have you believe.

There’s been a trend in recent years in popular culture to portray those that join the ranks of service branches as one of two extremes.

One side paints soldiers as cowboys, ne’er-do-wells who joined the service for the thrill of some “action” or as people who had no other choice.

The other side portrays all soldiers, airmen and sailors as heroes — a special breed a cut above the rest.

The real truth is America’s soldiers are just like the rest of us in almost every way. They’ve got families, problems and real-life concerns like everyone else. They put their pants on one leg at a time and have the same faults, shortcomings and downfalls the rest of the population has.

They’re common folks who’ve accepted an uncommon mission.

And that’s the beauty of our modern military and the service our enlisted men and women have undertaken.

Those who serve today, truly serve. They’re volunteers. They’ve chosen to answer a call to the country’s service — a vital need that’s critical to our security, independence and foundations as the world’s greatest nation.

And it’s for that reason that we honor them on Nov. 11. 

Their choices and sacrifices have allowed those of us that haven’t served to live our lives out of harm’s way — often without having to even consider the harsh realities of the larger world. 

And it’s for that, that they deserve our respect not just on Veterans Day, but every day.