I went out to try out the free meal at Golden Corral, not for the terrible steak cuts or chocolate fountain but to be out and about with the other vets. I had dinner with vets from World War 2, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm 1. A Marine, two army guys, even a guy from the Air Farce (just joking guys). It was an interesting meal, and we all talked about how things had changed in the last few years.
The Korean/Vietnam vets said they had gotten a feeling that folks were more respectful of the people who stepped up to serve these days, even if they disagreed with what the government asked of us.
That is what I appreciate. That folks can seperate the gap between the Leaders and the servicemen. I've had that disdain for serving before. It hurts. I talked with vets who were spat on back in the day for having served.
Things are getting better. Respect for the sacrifice is being given. Even if you don't appreciate the goals and aims we're directed at. Thank you for respecting the sacrifice of those who aren't here to be thanked anymore.
For me.. I am sitting here thinking of the two men I knew and served with.
AFC (AW) S....s (1995), you'll be missed. It was tragic to lose you on the last day of our operational cruise. You were an awesome flight deck chief, and for what little time I knew you.. a great mentor.
AWCS (AW/SW) 'Mongo' M..... (2004). I'm sorry we lost you before we should have Mongo. You were a hard man to work for at times, a great person to listen to and learn from. You tacked on my crow so hard I thought my damn arm was going to fall off, but it never did. Thank you. You're missed. I wish I could have seen your pain when we last talked.. I wish I could have helped you like you helped me when others were trying to mentally destroy me on that first tour. Your advice serves me to this day.
I do what I can to keep the memory of these two men alive in myself and the world around me.