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May 28, 2005 [ More archived home pages here ]


Americans celebrate the Memorial Day holiday this weekend. It's a time to do many things with family and friends. It's a time to remember the sacrifices those that served this great country during its long history. Controversial and the popular conflicts of America's involvement have one fundamental fact in common. Americans serve when called upon.

During the Vietnam War, a war I hated (and still do), I was one of the many millions of young American men exposed to the threats of war. It was unpopular war. It was a time when young men had to make choices: Serve; Draft Defer; Be lucky and not be called; Run away. One way or another you chose and lived or died with your choice. It was a lot to ask of very young men and the pressures of those four options were tremendous. We all know men from that time and if you knew them before the Vietnam War, you know they were changed by that pressure no matter how they decided.

When I was eighteen I went to college and obtained a 2-S Educational Deferment. That worked for one year and when I left college a year later, I was exposed to the Draft. On Christmas Eve 1969 I received my Draft Notice in the mail to report for induction. All the years of dread then came to a head. I asked myself, "How can you serve in a war you do not support?"

I found my answer by realizing one truth, "I am a proud American, how can I not serve when called upon? How can I live with myself if I put my feelings above my country?" In January 1970 I joined the U.S. Naval Reserves and served until my Honorable Discharge in 1971.

I never saw war first-hand. Thank God!

I don't think of my time in the service as a sacrifice equal to those that fought in any war. I served when called upon doing the best I could and that is enough for me.

There are true heros of America and I will mention two of them. The first is my ancestor, John Honeyman. The second is, Audie Murphy, who was WWII most decorated soldier--who died on this date in 1971. Both of those men risked their lives for their country when called upon.

Americans both men and women have proudly and often heroically served when called upon. This weekend we get a chance to think about them, remember them, and pray for their sacrifices. Without them we are defenseless in an every increasingly dangerous world. They sacrificed so that we can live under freedom's umbrella.

Take a moment out this weekend to consider all the sacrifices Americans have made and will make in the future. What will you do if called upon in some way? I already know my answer...


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