The purpose of this post is to express my heartfelt thanks to the men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice.

As a Vietnam era gray hair, I am sensitive to the lack of thanks from the ordinary citizen of these United States. So I have decided to thank the service men and women… and call for some additional action to make the career efforts of these citizen soldiers just a little easier.

First, during this holiday season, thank you for defending my liberties from all enemies foreign and domestic. I am a big believer in Teddy Roosevelt’s adage of “walk softly and carry a big stick.” Our military is the best in the world because our organizations know how to learn and adapt, our personnel are trained to know what to do and when to do it, and our equipment is as good as any. I am thankful for an enlightened military under the leadership of some enlightened citizens. As a student of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, I realize that today’s sacrifice is not as broad as in times past, but for individuals today it is just as deep. Again my thanks…

Second, for as good a job as the military does in preparing those in uniform for action on whatever theater of operations, there needs to be a similar effort to retrain and redirect each individual back into the peacetime economy. Individuals that served in 18th and 19th century conflicts came off the farm and returned to the farm. Today however they are coming from urban and rural settings that do not really start a career… and when they return, they have exceptional fighting skills, but very little that they can market to a peacetime economy. I remember talking to an Army nurse who had served in Iraq who was unable to get a job in the healthcare industry because all the field experience accounted for nothing that hospitals were looking for in their nursing staff.  We, as a nation, need to express our thanks by transitioning those in uniform back to citizen status with equal skill.

We, as citizens, live in a marvelous country that is buffered from threats by an effective corps of men and women so that we might continue our daily lives largely uninterrupted by whatever conflict is threatening our nation. Let us give both our thanks and our promise to reward those who protect our flanks. It builds our greatness and it deserves our thanks and gratitude.  J

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