“The peace we seek and need means much more than mere absence of war. It means the acceptance of law, and the fostering of justice, in all the world.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, 5 Star General, Army
“Humor is just another defense against the universe.” Mel Brooks, Corporal, Army
“I auditioned in Chicago for Juilliard and didn’t get in. I was basically living in a back room of my parents’ house, paying rent and not doing anything with my life. I’d like to say it was patriotic to join the Marines, but it was also that I was doing nothing honorable with my life, and spending too much time at McDonald’s.” Adam Driver, Lance Corporal, Marines
Do you have any interesting quotes from veterans?
I think it is better to get them on video, with the person, in person. I am not a writer and a great story-teller.
So here are just a couple. I will add to it when I get home.
When I was a kid, we were visiting with family in a place where some relatives lived. At the time, the uncle was stationed there. It was a bit more than I ever would have guessed. We went to a big party, at a local restaurant. They said “here is a free meal for the guys that are going off to war”. They sat us all down, and they gave speeches, (and these were real talks, that would make a preacher proud, all about faith in God, etc.) Then the head cook was called in, and he made a speech (and it was a good one, he was not a professional, but he was a good talker). Then the local band played a few songs.
I have never heard another band play that song. I have never heard a song so patriotic.
A few years later, we went to visit again, and went to the same restaurant. They were still having a “free meal for guys leaving to war”. It was exactly the same, just different guys going off to war. I can’t remember the speeches, or the song, just it was the same thing. So I asked my aunt, and she told me that this is the thing to do.
When you are off to war, and everyone is proud of you, everyone wants to do something for you, and this is what they do. They get you together, make a speech, play a song, and feed you. If you go back again, it is the same, it doesn’t get old. Everyone should go to war, and then they could know how nice it is to go to war.
So 3/4 of a century later, I was doing my military duty. They had one of these parties. After all the speeches and food, they asked people to come up and say a few words, because I was leaving. So I said my 5 minute thank you, and then I had to leave. My wife went to the same party with me. I asked her, “What was your favorite part of the meal?” And she said “that dessert that they served before we left, that was good.” So that was the best part of that meal.
I think the thing I most wish for, is that people would appreciate the service of veterans. I don’t think we need a holiday, or a day, or people to thank us. I am not sure we need “free meals” or whatever. But if people really did appreciate our service, we could have a country worth living in. We could have people who really do care.
But, alas, most of the country has no idea what we do, or who we are.
I think the best thing a country can do for the military, is to have a military that is only used for defense, and only when absolutely needed.
So what should I do, to make my country appreciate me, and the service of veterans? I have no idea.
But I would have to think that “going out and looking for something to shoot” is not the way to do it. I would have to think that joining the military just because it is a good job, and we need something to do with our lives, and we have nothing better to do, probably is not right. I would have to think that people who see veterans as something to be used as toys in politics, is not good for the country.
I would have to think that the people who call us “heroes” are not really helping. I don’t think we are “heroes” in any sense of the word. We are mostly a bunch of ordinary people who are lucky enough to have not been blown up.
What I have seen in the Marines, is that many of them are not the best and the brightest. They are mostly just ordinary guys, that can be trained to do certain things, and are willing to do them. I guess that is what the nation gets when it is willing to give free food to guys that are leaving to war.
I am going to make a few more quotes.
“They had the perfect right to do that. But it was a stupid thing to do. We would have killed them. We would have been killed. It was not a good thing to do.”
This guy was at some place where the “insurgents” fired mortars in. He heard a mortar, and decided to check it out. When he got there, the rocket had not exploded, and he saw some wires, and then picked up the thing. He said the rocket then exploded, and he lost his leg.
I will come back and finish.
“My buddy was killed, right next to me. So I had a friend, that was dead. It was so surreal.”
“You know, like, we were driving around, and a bomb exploded right in front of us. I am like, “how the f — k is that possible? The tires were blown out of the vehicle. I could not believe it. I think the car was totaled, it had a big dent on the hood. We could have been killed. I guess we got lucky. There was this dead body, right there. The other body, in the car, was alive, and we pulled him out, and we moved the vehicle. I think he got some of his teeth knocked out.”
I came back from Iraq a long time ago. I did some other things in the military. It seems we still have no idea what we are doing. All we know is, kill and destroy. That is not war.
“I was in a convoy, and it was a crazy trip, and it was real. That was my first deployment. I saw combat, and I could be killed. I was nervous, but we had to act calm, and we did.”
“Then we saw this IED on the road. It was pretty much right there, when we saw it. They stopped, and made us get out, and we just did what they told us. I remember seeing this rocket thing, and a bomb went off. There was a big bang, and a big dust cloud, and then another boom, and we were blown up. It was weird. I think one of the people in the convoy got killed. I think we had to do it. But it was a hell of a fight.”
So that was a quote from a guy who was in Iraq, and was talking about an IED on the road.
“I was in the Marines, and we did some stuff. I wish it never happened. But that was me, and I wish the world was better. But now I am back home, and I am trying to do other things. I know it was not a big deal, but it was fun. I am home, and I am just here. I don’t care if anyone knows who I am, or what I did. I just want to live my life.”
I wish the military was more effective. I think the best thing for the military, is to have nothing to do.
I really wish my job was to be a farmer. I am sorry, I didn’t mean that, I meant I wish my job was to do something good for the world.
“I just don’t care. I don’t want to think about it.”
“I was a reservist, and we got called up, and I did what they told me to do. Then I came back, and went to college, and I just want to do things for me now. I wish I had a job doing things for people. I don’t want to think about it, I just want to do stuff.”
“When we got on the plane, I knew what we were doing, I knew I was going to kill people. We would kill, and they would try to kill us, and then we would kill them, and they would try to kill us, and then they would kill us. I knew it was a war, and there would be some killing, but that was not really what we were there for. I wish I had something better to do. I don’t like thinking about it. I wish we never went. I don’t know what to do about it. I wish I could forget.”
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