by Les Weaver
Clash Daily Contributor
In May I will be 81 and was thinking back about my time in the Military and what it taught me.
I learned that a smart-ass teen, who thinks he’s a toughie, is confident he won’t get caught or face any penalties and knew it all, had been fast headed for real trouble. AND I found it. I spent six “lesson” days behind bars as a 17 year old. It was clean but only if the “inmates” kept it that way, (and you’d damned well better do so without sass). I discovered that the worst life on the outside was the choice over the best life on the inside.
The attitude that led to that stunt almost ruined my entire future. A compassionate judge saved both my younger brother and me. We would have been rejected by Navy enlistment instead being drafted into the Army in time of the Korean War. There would have been no secret security clearance for Atomic, Bacterial/Biological, Chemical warfare school in the Navy, no GI bill for college, and no top secret / special access security clearance from DARPA for the 31 civilian years following my military term.
I learned that there is no substitute for education. A high IQ does nothing for you without formal enhancement of that ability through the education process. I now know that with education, I could have reached even much higher and with fewer wounds. (The shortfall of this lesson is NOW, I know).
I learned that when people disagree with our government, (within the law) it is a right to respect, for to silence the disagreeing person puts our own freedom in peril. At the same time, I honor any and all veterans. Unless you have looked down the business end of an enemy’s gun barrel in war, or heard an incoming that only has “to whom it may concern” written on it, don’t criticize the veterans. It is rare when you see a veteran that will talk about war, or one who found that shooting another human was fun or a sport. Those types are almost always “fragged”, (legally or physically) by our own side.
I honor most veterans, for without them none of us would be free. I do exempt those who elevated and then used their vet status for personal gain. For example, explore the very detailed truth about the lead up to and military careers of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, John Kerry, etc. and what led to their medals.
Never defame or deface our flag in my or my wife’s presence. Until you have personally visited those dictatorships that some orally protect or use as elevated example, you do not qualify to preach what their flag stands for. That qualification doesn’t come from a book. It may only come from seeing the wounds of war first hand; to smell the stench of rotting or burnt flesh so strong it makes your eyes water and your stomach churn. It comes from walking through everything a family has created and is now only tear stained ashes and rubble. It comes from looking down a gun barrel held by a woman or child and you pointing a gun back with tears in your eyes and pain in your heart. It comes from the odor of decaying flesh that has been in the air for months and will continue to be there for months, perhaps years to come.
I am a conservative, (best defined as a maverick mixture of Constitutionalist/
Libertarian/Tea-Party-ist) sometimes a little to the right of right, sometimes not. I respect someone to the left even though I may not agree with his or her political beliefs. I was in the military to protect that liberal’s rights but equally will fight to the death to protect my conservative rights. I won’t argue this point for it is cast in steel and encased in concrete. (A friend who engraves tombstones has written my epitaph. “Here lies Les. When he became terminally ill, he reregistered as a Progressive Democrat, just so there would be one less of them”).
With all its faults, this is the greatest country on earth. I honor those who try to improve it but abhor those who do nothing but complain and tear it down while living off the efforts of others, (and likely do not vote or sit on a jury). I am sick of “personal politics” and spew abject loathing to any who foster it. I abhor the practice that some in our society are given a free pass when they break the law. In my book, “Steal a nickel or rob a bank; both gain the title of thief”. We see that the capitol is full of these thieves.
I proudly fly the Stars and Stripes, (and the Gadsden flag) at my home every day. Yep, I believe in: Family, Celebration over a turkey dinner, and The Red, White, and Blue. So does my loving companion who was born into Nazi Germany and grew up in Communist East Germany, therefore carrying firsthand knowledge about tyranny, dictators and “Social Leveling”. We’ll lend a hand to those who “try” but turn my back on those who want a “freebie”.