Your turn — A time to honor our veterans

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2022

This Friday is the day that has been set aside to honor our veterans. It is a noble thing to recognize those that have served our nation in uniform. It should not, however, be a thing we do only once a year. Rather, in some way or another, honor them more frequently by the way that we treat and show our respect to them.

Some entered the service because they were willing to risk their lives for their country; others believed it a worthy career. Some saw service as a means to learn a skill, others did so because they saw limited opportunities within their communities. Finally, others entered military duty simply because of the luck of the draw during the periods of war when the draft was in effect.

For whatever reason that folks have served in the military, it changed them. It created bonds with those they served with, often those relationships have lasted for years. Their service changed kids into men and women that friends, family, and communities should admire and respect.

THE SERVICES HAVE CHANGED

The military has always evolved. From periods when many of our recruits were drafted, to the present where new challenges are offered that require far more skills than in years past.

When I was in basic training at Fort Knox, several of those there had been given a choice, they could either join the army or they could go to jail. When my son, David, was enlisting to go into the Navy, there were hurdles to cross. You had to have a diploma, you had to pass tests that not only showed one understood math and science but physical tests to ensure one’s ability to go through training without washing out in basic training.

Today’s military is far more dependent on weaponry that relies on educated servicemen and women that understand how to guide missiles and other armament to enemy posts that they cannot see but can detect. This is good. For ages, the foot soldiers were nicknamed ‘cannon fodder’ because they were ordered to advance on enemy positions, running and crawling directly into live fire.

GRIMMER CHANGES

Most of the changes in the last decades have been positive, but not all. We still get involved in wars without a clear understanding of why. Decision makers in Washington decide to send troops into dangerous situations with little or no direction of what the outcome should be.

As an example, when then candidate Obama was running for president, he stated that we were fighting the wrong war in the wrong place. He believed that we should ramp up the fight in Afghanistan. Twenty years after we entered Afghanistan, we left, showing nothing for the loss of life and limb. We simply flew away, leaving allies and armaments for the Taliban. Leaders in Washington never allowed military leaders to fight the war to win.

Another sad reality of today’s military is that the Biden Administration has installed military officers who are less focused on being prepared for war. Orders have come down that have demoralized our servicemen and women. In doing so, they have left all branches of service short of personnel needed to maintain a strong military.

It started with President Biden’s horrid rush to get out of Afghanistan that resulted in the needless deaths of our personnel and Afghans who had assisted us. Another demoralizing decision was to kick out personnel who refused to receive Covid shots.

The brass has fallen in line with the President’s ‘woke’ ideology. The military that had prided itself on racial integration for decades. Members were once promoted on their ability, now the focus is quotas. Every personnel decision is now focused on checking the right boxes rather than promoting the best, most qualified.

MY ASK OF YOU

Commit to speak to a veteran who fought overseas. If possible, record their story of the challenges they faced. My father-in-law never revealed what he experienced going ashore on D-Day. Do not let that happen with your loved ones.

This Friday, mostly at 11 a.m., there will be programs throughout the region to honor our veterans. I hope that you will attend one of these events. Your show of support would mean much to those who have served our nation.

FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen. Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.