Monday, November 12, 2018

“Thank You For Your Service”

WHO’S YO DADDY?   According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network,  children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture.  Long-term effects include alienation from benefits earned during military service. 
One small step toward “Becoming” could be one giant leap for veteran families.

By Eric Stradford, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

AMWS, November 11, 2018, Virtual – Military Veterans today are at times greeted by the term, “Thank you for your service.”   Over the last twelve years, Youth Achievers USA Institute, a 501c3 public charity, invested time and talent in perpetuating the spirit behind the phrase though its support of annual commemorative events and inclusive community projects.

For more than twenty years, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Colonel Herbert N. Harmon, J.D. has hosted an annual Marine Corps Birthday celebration with a small gathering of friends in Washington, D.C.  This year, The National Museum of the Marine Corps once again invited America to say, “Thank you for your service” and mean it. 

If you were among the few and the proud who missed the commemorative Marine Corps Birthday event, perhaps you will SAVE THE DATE for November 10, 2019. 

This year, the world watched as the 45th President of the United States missed a movement.  Ordinarily, it’s not a big thing for most civilians who say, “thank you for your service.”

According to legal scholars, the president, even as the commander in chief, is not in the military by law.  Although he has authority over the armed forces, he enjoys immunity from military justice.  That being said, a couple of Marine Generals standing on the shoulders of American heroes, might feel obligated to bend the arc of a moral universe toward some Marine Corps unique justice.

One of the most famous quotations in Marine Corps history came during the initial step-off for battle when First Sergeant Dan Daly, a recipient of two Medals of Honor who had served in the Philippines, Santo Domingo, Haiti, Peking and Vera Cruz, prompted his men of the 73rd Machine Gun Company forward with the words: "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"

In their study of Marine Corps history, young Marines are motivated by Daly’s politically incorrectness during the battle of Belleau Wood. His command, and the resultant fierce fighting earned U.S. Marines the respect of their enemy.  The Germans nicknamed Marines who fought at Belleau Wood, “Teufel Hunde," a term by which generations of Marines have become known as “Devil Dogs.”

Depending on how the words are remembered, by whom and how the story is told, a United States Marine could be a community’s greatest asset or its worst nightmare. Dan Daly is reported to have turned down an officer’s commission, stating, “Any officer can get by on his sergeants, but to be a sergeant you have to know your stuff.”  Of course, any commissioned officer who might have heard Daly say that would hardly want it to be remembered.   

Missing a movement hardly measures up among allegations of porn-star payoffs, rigged elections and witness tampering.  But when citizens, particularly veterans, consider the offense in context, Belleau Wood is hardly the event you miss for a booty call.

The president's most important duty as commander in chief is to defend the United States, its territories and possessions and its armed forces, from attack.  This duty to National Security is carried out through projection of military strength, diplomacy and economic security.  When America’s misses the opportunity to say, “thank you for your service,” and mean it, America falls short on its responsibility for its National Security.
The U.S. Constitution (Article II, section 2) specifies that “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”  Language provides the president with constitutional powers over the armed forces.  As the president shares power with the Congress, countless unsettling, unanswered questions keep lawyers and politicians employed.  Meanwhile, young men and women sacrifice life, limbs, and livelihood  as those cassions keep rolling along.

Veterans are just part of a complex and interconnected web of people who vote for policymakers. Language drives policy.  National Security is possible only when and if a nation guarantees Economic Security for its veterans. In the absence of truth, words become alternative facts and veterans forget why they sacrificed. Consequently, active military service members never learn the importance of their service.   

As a United States Marine Corps veteran, engaging America’s Future is perhaps the best therapy society can offer.  Much has been said about the re-entry of military veterans into American society.  Most of it begins with trust.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that 40,056 veterans are homeless on any given night. Almost 2 million veterans are without health insurance, along with 3.8 million members of their households, according to news reports.  Among the 1.8 million uninsured veterans, 12.7 percent are under 65.

Becoming, a new book by Former First Lady Michelle Obama, offers some helpful insight on where we might go from here.   According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network,  children of military and veteran families experience unique challenges related to military life and culture. These challenges include deployment-related stresses such as parental separation, family reunification, and reintegration; disruption of relationships with friends and neighbors due to frequent moves; and adaptation to new schools and new community resources.

Earlier today, an opportunity for inclusion presented itself.  “I may not have stayed in for a long period of time…,” posted Chalondra Brie Stradford. “…but I did sign up to serve my country!!!! Happy Veteran's Day to all the men and women like me who put their name on the line for the USA!!!!”

What is a Veteran?  According to unofficial sources, a veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as "Any, Any, Any"... A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. Certain Coast Guard personnel operating under the War Dept, Navy Dept or Dept of Defense are also military veterans.).

Officially, anyone who claims to be a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces might verify their status at

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