Thank our veterans

Published 9:56 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Make no mistake about it: Every civilian who does his job conscientiously and delivers an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay deserves a pat on the back.

But as Veterans Day approaches, I would like to pause and elaborate on why our active and honorably discharged military personnel are so special. Grumbling and griping is only human, but very few civilian jobs offer anything like the kind of stress weighing on those who defend our country.

Perhaps you are overwhelmed by workplace politics and wonder “Who can I trust???” Our service people know it’s a life-or-death situation if their buddy is off his game a little when combat time arrives. And that foreign fighter who is being trained — will he be an appreciative ally, or will he shoot the American in the back?

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Do you feel pressure to measure up those who went before you — whether it is your grandfather (in a family-owned business) or “the award-winning guy who had this territory before you?” Our service people labor in the shadow of those who exhibited brilliant strategy and extreme courage, including those of whom it can be said “some gave all.”

Is your job boring? Do you get tired of the same stretches of road, the same assembly line, the same cubicle? Think of enduring ocean wave after ocean wave or sand dune after sand dune — with the break in the monotony coming, not from a favorite customer or a “casual Friday,” but from a sudden burst of enemy fire.

Do you stress over “the one who got away” — the college basketball prospect or the wealthy investor whom you just couldn’t impress enough to get them to sign on the dotted line? Sure enough, those folks can go on to sign with your competitor. On the other hand, when someone in the Armed Forces lets an enemy get away, that combatant may go on to blow up a water purification plant or an orphanage.

Do you chafe under your immediate supervisor’s arbitrary meddling, or the nonsensical rules and regulations passed down through the corporate hierarchy? Our service people have to deal with the sometimes incomprehensible decisions of the military chain of command — but they are also at the mercy of the purely political maneuvering of the commander-in-chief and Congress. Such maneuvering may incite either timidity or reckless invasions, just for the sake of votes.

Do you sometimes feel that the public doesn’t properly appreciate the product or service you offer? Our service people are generally “out of sight, out of mind” and are ripe targets for budget cutting.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad, does it drive you crazy when your housekeeping efforts are instantly undone by spouse, kids or pets? Think about having your hard work destroyed by enemy bombs.

Are you tired of being on the road for a week at a time or working a shift that has your children already asleep when you get home? Let’s talk a little about the hardships of military families…

By all means, take pride in your job and try to improve your working conditions. But let’s keep it in perspective and never pass up an opportunity to say “Thank you” to a veteran, send cards and letters to active military personnel and maintain the sort of nation that our defenders can truly feel is worth defending.