aerial achievement medal, air force pilot, air medal, blog awards, cancer, cancer survivior, death, disneyworld, happiness, love, medal of honor, metal, military medals, music, novel, peach, sports, SSgt Clinton Romesha, writing
A quick personal update before getting to business. I am going to be out of touch next week. The family and I are heading down south to hang with Mickey, Tinkerbell, and Buzz Lightyear for the week. Hope to be back and plugged in next weekend. Hope all remain safe, sound and hard working. I will be working hard at avoiding work, but that is nothing new for me.
In the past couple of months, I have been awarded three blogger awards by some wonderful people and great friends. I have been very slack at recognizing these awards because I secretly don’t want to be noticed like this. I have never been real good at accepting public recognition. The expectations I have in myself are so high, they are truly unreachable. I know when I am doing a good job and for me, that is recognition enough.
During my military career, I acquired several military awards and decorations. I never served so that I would have the right to wear a little ribbon. I never served so that I would be recognized by my peers as someone who was there. I served for the adventure, for the work and the experience. Once all of that ran its course, I called it a day.
I quit after thirteen full years of service, seven short of a retirement check. I quit because it wasn’t fun anymore. I quit because it wasn’t a challenge anymore. I quit because I had turned into that airline guy that had to introduce himself to his crew every time he flew. I had medals, I had experience. But the new guys didn’t care. All they cared about was if this airline guy was going to try to kill them or not.
Sorry if my angst still runs deep. I am proud to have served, I am proud of what I did and I am even proud of the awards I earned. I always said that if given the choice, I would take extra money over any award. I did some crazy things during my time overseas that were never recognized. I did some lame things overseas that earned recognition. That is how it goes. Last week, I watched President Obama give Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha the Medal of Honor. This is the highest medal anyone in the military can ever earn.
Usually the recipients of this medal have given their lives to save the lives of their fellow soldiers. Everyone who earns this medal did something really heroic at extreme risk of their life. SSgt. Romesha is no different. As I watched the ceremony, I thought there was only one person who was uncomfortable with the awarding of this medal, that person was SSgt. Romesha. In his words.
“I stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness today,” he said, describing how he felt “conflicted” about the medal around his neck. “The joy comes from recognition from us doing our jobs as soldiers on distant battlefields,” said Romesha, a former Army staff sergeant dressed in full uniform that included a cavalry hat. “But it is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of our battle buddies – my battle buddies, my soldiers, my friends.”
I get it. The real reason, men fight and give their life is because of their battle buddies. There is no patriotism when the bullets are flying. It is all about survival and making sure all of your team survives. General Patton summed it up, “It is not your job to die for your country. It is your job to make the other poor bastard die for his country.”
In the military there are certain medals that you get when you sign on the dotted line and join up. There are some you get because you excel in a certain area. Some because you were on duty when an event happened. Some because you did a good job and made the commander look good.
As a part of the uniform, you are allowed to wear all, some, or none of the medals you have earned. When I wore my Dress Uniform, I never wore a medal that was earned in the above groups. I only wore a medal that was earned by serving in a combat action. The Air Medal and The Aerial Achievement Medals were all I ever wore. I actually had three Air Medals and five Aerial Achievement Medals, all earned while being over there. I wore them because; I earned them with my buddies. I wore them to honor their involvement and I wore it to honor the unit I served with. Really, I would have preferred the extra money over the honor of having a medal.
I avoided wearing the Dress Uniform that required the medals to be worn on it. I bribed my way into wearing my flight suit to my promotion board to Major. Every time, there was a distinguished visitor on base that included a visit by the President of the United States. I made sure I was in a role that was out of the public eye and required a flight suit. I volunteered to fly Senator Byrd, Senator Rockefeller and Governor Manchin to Washington DC, instead of wearing my Dress Uniform.
My wife told me I was wearing the uniform when we got married, that one had everything on it. I looked like a Polish Private. But I was trying to make her look good, so I did my job.
The The Purple Heart, The Bronze Star with the “V” device signifying it was earned for Valor, The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Silver Star and The Medal of Honor are all awards requiring blood and fortunately I never earned one of these.
I am sure you are all bored by now, I am, so to the point of this post. I have been given three awards because of this blog. Like the military awards, I am slightly embarrassed but deep down I am honored to know that I am making some traction in the world of blogs. My friend Julie Luke has honored me with the Most Versatile Blogger Award. Quite an honor and a surprise to get. I do try to change the topics of my posts and if feels good to know that Julie gets what I am trying to do. Check out Julie’s Blog here: http://athoughtgrows.blogspot.com/ She has a wonderful site where she highlights the process of writing. I met Julie on the Writer’s Digest weekly writing prompts. She is as talented and honest a lady as ever existed. She generates fifty comments from her posse, following every post. I generate on average six. Thank You, Julie.
I would like to pass this on to my friend Becca over at http://beccaplenderleith.wordpress.com/ This is a young lady who lives in Scotland. Her blog is a very open and in depth look at how life is for a young person trying to find their way in today’s world. She is brutally honest, funny and open about everything going on in her world. Not only does she talk about her innermost thoughts and feelings, she tackles some big ticket issues like gay marriage and Metallica’s top 25 songs.
My friend Joe over at the http://thecrossovertest.com nominated me for the Addictive Blog Award. Usually, when I think of addiction, I think of something bad. But not when Joe speaks. An English teacher by trade, his blog is a mix of humor, fun and introspection. But what ticks me off, is that somehow he sneaks in an English lesson, a writing lesson or a life lesson on me. When I read one of his posts, I always leave with a basic thought rattling around in my brain. When it stops, I always find that I am a better person. Dang that Joe!
Additionally, he has one novel in print and number two on the way. You can get the link from his website. I have read it and it was wonderful. Full of mystery, suspense it is the story of two brothers who battle themselves, each other and the supernatural in order to save their mom and the world. It is a fun read, I highly endorse it.
I am going to pass this off to my friend Jason over at http://metalandsports.wordpress.com/ Jason has a passion about two of the things that interest me most. Music and sports. If I didn’t know better, I would think he was my brother from another mother. The only thing wrong with Jason, is that he loves the Philadelphia Eagles. I root for Dallas. Otherwise we are as one. I read everything he writes and when he goes into a lull of a couple of days, I soon find myself needing a fix.
Finally, my good friend Mike from http://mlswift.blogspot.com/ gave me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Mike is a super talented writer from Florida who is in the process of writing a young adult novel about a guy named Monty. I also met him at the Writer’s Digest weekly writing post. His site is a combination of Joe and Julie’s, mixing writing, peace, love, happiness and a touch of reality. He is the leader of the Progressive Book Club and he speaks Latin. A wonderful man whose talent is only eclipsed by his love for his family.
Finally, I want to pass all of these awards off to a man who is really inspiring, addictive and versatile, Pastor Jack Miller. http://www.pastorjackmiller.blogspot.com/ For those who don’t know, Pastor Jack was diagnosed with cancer several months ago. Three months ago, he was told that the cancer was terminal.
This is directly from his blog on 17 Jan, 2013
“Two months ago, I was told by one of the best doctors in the country in one the the best hospitals in the world that I was stage four cancer, incurable. I was told I had a cancerous tumor on my adrenal gland and that cancer had jumped into the lymph nodes in my chest and also evidenced itself with another tumor on my lung.
While extremely compassionate, the medical staff were all on the same page; preparing me for the worst and the avenue for my care in the last days of life which I was currently in because I had been declared terminal. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that position, but the two words you don’t want to hear when speaking to a doctor with the credentials of the one that sat across from me is ‘terminal’ and ‘incureable.’ And you don’t want to be told that they can only extend your life, just before sending you to meet the man who will be in charge of your chemotherapy as you die.
Tonight I read a passage out of the Bible where David, in his joy, danced before the Lord.
Tonight as I type these words, I know why David danced so long ago.
Tonight, I’m not terminal, I wasn’t incurable.
Tonight my body is cancer free because God touched me, healed my body and delivered me from death.
I cannot rightly describe what it feels like to know that you’re dying but also know that there is something going on within your body that you can’t explain; thinking God is doing something powerful, but you don’t know exactly what it is. But you hope.
And I cannot rightly describe what it feels like to wake up from a second surgery and the doctors are smiling. In a fog, the first thing I can remember is person after person in the recovery room telling me I didn’t have cancer.”
I don’t care who you are, that is real inspiration. Pastor Jack never shied away from his feelings, concerns, complaints, sadness or hopes while he fought the cancer. He documented his struggle and wrote with an intense passion, strength and conviction. He did all of this while facing a certain death. He is inspirational, he is versatile and he is addictive. He is as real as it gets just as SSgt Romesha is as real as it gets. Heroes all!
I normally end by saying keep on rocking the free world. Tonight I will end with Pastor Jack’s good bye, win one for the good guys.
From → friends