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Christmas Cash,Costs,Challenges of The Ozarks 1960s

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Christmas Cash,Costs, Challenges

of

The

Ozarks’

1960s

THE OZARKS OLD HOUSE_Photo by Samuel E Warren Jr_resized

The Old House

Of The Ozarks

This small house beside Missouri State Highway 176 in Stone County, Missouri in The Ozarks can go unnoticed by passing motorists. This Old House served as The DeLong Family Home in the 1960s. Birthday parties, Fourth of July, Halloween Trick or Treat events,Thanksgiving Supper and Christmas Day Dinner celebrations were held in the three – room house, which had a Laundry Room built on in the 1970s. There was no inside plumbing. Uncle Joe built an Outhouse down on the hillside. While the house did not have the social comforts of some 20th Century homes in The Ozarks; it always felt like “Home” to DeLong family members, who returned to Stone County and the Missouri Ozarks anytime of the year. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

christmas-tree-logo-photo-two-thumbnail_thumb[1]Home in my childhood was “The Ozarks.”

 

The Ozarks is one of the places in the world, where myth and reality live side by side.

 

You live your life in The Real World and sometimes it seems like you look up and see a wild,white-haired Mark Twain smiling down at you with his pen in hand.

 

The heavy snows of winter fall. The scene looks like a Currier and Ives lithograph on a china plate and then you feel the “bone chilling cold” enter your body. You see your breath. You trudge out of the knee-high snow into the warmth of your home.

 

You “warm” by the large, rectangular, dark brown “Warm Morning” gas stove and realize winter in The Ozarks means Christmas is usually just days away.

 

You get a hot cup of coffee and wonder why people think The Ozarks is “permanently stuck in an 1800s Time Warp.”

 

MV5BMTUzNzE1MjY0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDE3MjU1MQ@@._V1._SX359_SY500_If you ever watched an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies” you may believe the fictional characters represent “Life In The Ozarks.”

 

You would be wrong.

 

I grew up in the Ozarks and I never ate possum.

 

I have ate squirrel.

 

Uncle Hobert DeLong was a “dead on shot” with a rifle. Every time he went into the woods, he came back with a “mess of squirrels” and sometimes “a mess of rabbits.”

 

Of course, no one remembers Jed, granny and the rest of the Clampett were supposed to have been from Bugtussel, Tennessee and the characters get associated with The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks.

 

Cartoonist Al Capp made a large fortune drawing the comic strip of Lil’ Abner for 43th years that reached 60 million readers in more than 900 American newspapers.

 

Capp’s newspaper comic strip was one of my mother’s favorites. Capp put the characters in Dogpatch, Kentucky, but as a kid everyone though if you were from The Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks, then, you must be like Lil’ Abner.

 

I never went to a Sadie Hawkin’s Day dance.

 

Dancing wasn’t allowed at Galena High School in the 1960s. It was an issue that came up with every senior class wanting a “Prom.” The Baptist and Pentecostal churches of the 1960s in Stone County were vocal in their objections and they kept the prom dance out of school.

 

I graduated in 1973 in a “Graduation Exercises” ceremony, but there was “No Prom” because the churches still didn’t allow dancing in school.

 

 

 

The Ozarks Hillbilly Stereotype

 

No matter how incorrect the “hillbilly” stereotype is about The Ozarks. Americans and foreigners seem to cling to the dumb hayseed and lazy cartoon and television stereotypes of “The Ozarks Hillbilly.”

 

The irony is that the Ozarks is pretty close to the center of the United States and it has always seemed like an “undiscovered country” to foreigners and other Americans.

 

My geographical calculations of “The Ozarks” begins from the southern city limits sign of Jefferson City to the southern city limits sign of Little Rock, Arkansas, which is what I always considered to be, “The Ozarks.”

 

Stone County, Missouri is in the southwest section of the state and borders Arkansas, which means, “reckon I grew up one of them thar’ Ozarks’ country boys.”

 

Missourians in the Ozarks joke, “If you don’t like the weather just wait 15 minutes and it will change.” There is truth to that joke. The weather doesn’t always change every 15 minutes, but in a 24-hour day, the weather can change several times in a day.

 

Pen To Paper

 

To put pen to paper and write a story about Christmas in The Ozarks, I will have to set the stage.

 

There are many famous Missourians from United States Army Generals of the Armies John Joseph “Blackjack” Pershing to “The Most Trusted Man In America” Walter Cronkite, but, usually the celebrities are known as Missourians and not necessarily, “Ozarkers.”

 

Neosho, Missouri’s Thomas Hart Benton put his brush strokes on canvas to paint pictures; I will try to paint a word picture of life in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

Tom Sawyer Childhood

 

Life in “The Ozarks” in Stone County, Missouri in the 1960s was like “Tom Sawyer on a tractor and in a pickup truck.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Midwest buckboards and stagecoaches were replaced by 18-wheelers, Greyhound and Continental Trailways buses.

 

Rose O’Neill’s Kewpie dolls could be still found in toy stores in the Ozarks. Overall, Life in southern Missouri had not changed all that much since the days of Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose O’Neill.

 

The Tomato Factories” of Reeds Spring, Abesville, and Galena in the 1930s had been replaced with “The Garment Factory” in Reeds Spring and Crane and Crane had a “Casket Factory.”

 

Fasco in Springfield, Missouri employed several people from Stone County. In 1960, Silver Dollar City was just beginning operations. Branson, Missouri in 1960 was “no threat” to country music in Nashville, but, Nashville musicians would begin to head for Branson, during the 1960s. In the area of economics, “times were tough”, in Stone County and southwest Missouri in 1960.

 

Blood Out Of A Turnip

 

Every nation has an economy. Money flows around in the metropolitan and urban areas, but in rural areas the ocean of money flows into a narrow stream that sometimes becomes a dry creek bed. In Stone County, it seemed even the rocks in the creek bed were usually “bone dry.”

 

After The Great Depression and World War II, the United States economy was strengthening. In the rural areas of the Ozarks, being “poor” is still a way of life.

 

In the early 1960s, the local power companies were working hard to provide, stable and reliable electricity.

 

Stone County, Missouri had a reputation of being one of the poorest counties in The Show Me State.

 

Traditionally in Missouri, statistics reveal “Mining” is the major source of manual labor income for the state. Farming comes in second. There were caves in Stone County, but no working mines.

 

Farming is hard work. Even with good weather and the money to buy seeds, livestock and equipment, farming is a full-time job to make a living.

 

Gardening maybe a hobby; Farming is a job.

 

Grandma DeLong like to sum up an economic situation as, “I couldn’t afford to make a down payment on an old settin’ hen with all her eggs rotten.” The purpose of this country statement was to point out that someone was “financially broke.” It was a common financial phrase that you heard in The Ozarks in the 1960s.

 

By 1960s, some farmers in Stone County had had it with “life on the farm.” Some people sold their farms and moved to other states. Some people stayed on their farms, but tried to get a “public job” at Silver Dollar City.

 

When it came to money in Stone County, Missouri and The Ozarks in the 1960s “people minded their Ps and Qs” and sometimes the lack of money was described as “Trying to get blood out of a turnip.”

 

Ozarks Hills And Hollers

 

Corn and tomatoes were the big income producing crops in Stone County, Missouri in my childhood in the 1960s. There were always stories of some of the corn being used to produce “moonshine” and “white lightning.”

 

In the early 1980s, I was “home on leave” from the military and a family friend unscrewed the lid on a Mason jar and asked me if I wanted some of the clear liquid.

 

I thanked him, but decided not to drink the “white lightning.”

 

The geography of Stone County had some cliffs and bluffs in the landscape of the hills and hollers. When the soil was too rough, rocky or poor to raise any other crop, usually the farmer would sew cane and other pasture grasses.

 

Fertilize was not all that expensive, but, the amount needed to nourish the soil and get crops to grow was sometimes too big a chunk of money out of a farmer’s budget.

 

Uncle Richard had one field beside State Highway 176, that the family called, “The Cane Field” because it was too rocky and the soil too poor for any other crop. The cane was used to feed to the cattle in the winter time,

 

Spring and summer usually the crops grew well and there was plenty of pasture to feed the livestock. Farmers didn’t get rich, but they made “the ends meet.”

 

Deep Freeze

 

Winter in southwest Missouri in the 1960s was always Armageddon. Fields were buried under blankets of deep snow. The important contribution of the deep snow and cold temperatures is the weather would kill off chiggers, ticks and snakes as long as farmers burned the brush in their fields and hollers in the early falls.

 

Burning the tree leaves in the hollers that fell kept deep leave beds from filling up the hollers. In the winter time, chigger, ticks and snakes would burrow into the deep leaves to try and wait out the winter until spring.

 

Southwest Missouri’s picture postcard “snows” were efficient in freezing farm ponds, which stayed frozen unless you broke the ice with an ax for the cattle to get a drink.

 

The weight of a Black Angus, Polled Hereford, Jersey or Holstein cow would sometimes shatter the ice and a cow could drown trying to get a drink of water in the winter.

 

Later in the 1960s, someone invented a device to stick in farm ponds in the winter to keep the water from freezing.

 

The deep freeze of the Ozarks in winter would freeze trees. The weight of ice on the limbs would cause the limbs to fall and take down electric lines. If you were lucky, you would be without electricity for a day.

 

On average people usually went without electricity for two to three days usually two to three times,during winter from October through April. The worst case scenario meant you would go without electricity for one to two weeks during the winter.

 

A Country Mile

 

The strength of my childhood came from my family in the Ozarks. Momma, Grandma DeLong, Uncle Richard, Uncle Hobert, Aunt Mary, and Cousin Donna were my family in the Ozarks.

 

In Houston, Texas, I could step out in my front yard. Donna and Debbie Brinkley from the house next door only had to walk out their gate and a few feet to walk into my yard for us to play.

 

In the Ozarks, neighbors always seemed to live a country mile from your front door.

 

Thelma Thomas was my closet neighbor in 1960 and she lived about a tenth of a mile from my front door on top of a hill. Her kids were grown with families of their own.

 

The Galena School District usually included Jenkins and Wheelerville, Missouri, which was only a few miles from Crane, Missouri. And, Crane, Missouri was 10 miles from Galena.The district would extend south to almost Reeds Spring, which was about 15 miles from Galena.

 

Many of my classmates would have to do chores before catching the school bus in the morning. The bus ride for some of the kids meant they were on the school bus for two hours before they arrived at Galena Elementary or Galena High School. After school, they would spend two hours on the bus once it left the school.

 

You would see classmates in school, but the distances and the rural road conditions to their parents’ farms meant that “visits” and social interaction was almost impossible, except for possibly on the weekend.

 

Crane, Missouri was only 10 miles from Galena and we usually only went grocery shopping in Crane on Saturdays.

 

 

 

Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics”

 

Children of the 21st Century will think I grew up in The Dark Ages because there was no Internet, no facebook, no twitter, no computers, no X box, no play station and no cell phones.

 

Yes, there was “Life On Planet Earth Before Electronics.”

 

Fire had been discovered. My father always carried his Zippo cigarette lighter.

 

We didn’t have to use stone tablets and chisels because there was an archaic device called, a typewriter that used ribbons, bond paper and carbon paper that helped people put words on paper for future generations.

 

Telephones Come To Stone County

 

Telephones were being installed in homes, near Galena and Abesville, Missouri.

 

In order to have a telephone in your home if you lived near State Highway 176, you had to be willing to be on “a party line”, which meant when your phone rang, your neighbors telephone gave off a jangle sound,

 

There was one public telephone booth in Galena, Missouri. The phone booth was on the sidewalk by the US Post Office, next to Floyd’s Barber shop, which was next to Rose’s beauty shop, which was next to the Hillbilly Cafe and sat across the street from the courthouse. In 2011, that area is now a parking lot for The Stone County Judicial Center.

 

The reason why the telephone was so important in 1960 was it allowed Momma to call Daddy in Texas and he could call her from Texas. Grandma and Uncle Richard never had a telephone. DeLong and Warren family members, who lived in other states could call us and we could call them.

 

In the 21st Century, when it seems children own a cell phone as soon as they learn to speak; it may be hard to imagine the importance of a telephone in your home, but, imagine for a moment that you lived in the snow and ice of the South Pole and you were trying to make a phone call to your grandparents in the United States.

 

If your grandparents lived in a city like Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles or New York City, it would be easy for them to place a call. But, if you lived in a remote location at the South Pole, there might not be phone lines or cell phone towers, so you might not get the phone call.

Old Missouri Spring Photo by Junior Warren1

Old Missouri Spring

This old spring is on Warren Land in Stone County, Missouri. The Ozarks area of the United States has always been difficult for “people to live off the land” because the soil is poor and rocky. If you need rain; you will get a drought. If you need sunshine;you will get a flood. Nature seems to enjoy working against farmers. Wildlife and insect pest can have a negative effect on crops. The Old Traditional Ozarks Hillbilly concept portrays citizens as dumb and lazy. The truth is an Ozarks Hillbilly is one of the smartest and hard working people, you will ever meet because they use their elbow grease and common sense to work a “Miracle” on stubborn pieces of land to earn a living and raise their families. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

 

The Miracle Of Life In The Ozarks

 

When you think of “The Ozarks” in the 1960s; you understand the word, “Miracle” is a reality.

 

The Ozarks’ lunar style geography of cliffs and bluffs, poor soil, an over abundance of rocks, moody weather, predator wildlife like wolves and coyotes as well as insect pests; it is a “Miracle” that people were able to live, earn a living, and sometimes prosper in this section of the United States.

 

When you are a child, you open your toys on Christmas Day. Underneath the Christmas Tree, you begin to play with the toys.

 

As a young man, you can find yourself trying to decide if you want to go “Home For The Holidays.”

 

As a senior citizen you can sit back with a cup of coffee or a glass of egg nog and remember the toys and the celebrations. When you look back long enough at your childhood, you really begin to understand and appreciate the sacrifices that your parents made for you.

 

At last, you can understand, the challenges, costs,hard work and the effort that your parents made to make Christmas seem like a “Magickal Holiday” that simply happens.

Sam

thumbnail 1 old missouri spring

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Written by samwarren55

December 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Crafts, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Money, Nature, Opinion, Patriotism, Rocks, Stone County History, The Ozarks, Tourism

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“ Should I Join The Military ? ” Editorial

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The Samuel E. Warren Jr.’s

Should I Enlist In The Military ? “ Editorial

 

Salute Your Military Veteran

STAFF SERGEANT RANK_resized

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A young man or woman, who reaches “the age of enlistment” has a decision to make: “Should I join the military ?”

 

Only you can make that decision.

 

I guarantee you “military service” will change your life.

 

Your mother loves you and brought you into this world, so Mom will “Pray” that you don’t enlist because people die in War. It is to be expected that your Mom would prefer you choose another line of work.

 

Everyone forgets “civilians”, the ordinary citizens of the world also happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and also die in War. War is an event that does not “check I. D.s” or decides only “people in uniform” can die in War.

 

Your father loves you and, probably, would prefer you to choose a different job. Unfortunately, for “Dear Ole’ Dad”, centuries of world history have embodied the “Macho Mythology” that a man is suppose to live for War.

 

Horsefeathers !”

 

No one lives for War.

 

War is an event that ends lives in the blink of an eye, leaves land in rubble and contributes to generations of negative emotions, “hard feelings,” suspicion, and in some cases “down right hate.”

 

Your father will find it hard to express his emotions and views on whether he believes you should or should not “join the military.”

 

But, even if your father never finds the words – look in his eyes. Respect is a virtue that shines out through the eyes.

 

Family members will all have an opinion about whether you should “enlist.” Be polite and courteous and listen to their words, which reveals their feelings.

 

Friends will tell you their “fad of the moment reaction.” Throughout world history there are times when the perspective of military service or a military career is popular or unpopular.

 

The Vietnam War was extremely unpopular so the military was called, “The American Military Industrial Complex.”

 

And, “The Draft” made sure enlistment age men did not have to make the decision; the decision was made for them by the politicians of government. You either reported for military service or you went to Canada, Mexico or ran the risk of being sent to jail. No choice.

 

The Gulf War was a popular War. United States Government politicians learned a “War has to be marketed.” The advertising campaign worked. Enthusiasm, adrenaline and patriotism had young Americans lining up to “die for oil”.

 

Global governments can remain dependent on oil – the “Dead Dinosaur Stew.” No one has to think about the War cost of human life, in terms of, “Marines Per Gallon.”

 

Youth to middle age is the “Time Of Life About Passion” and your decisions are made to reflect the “heat of passion” and “to live in the moment.” Youth is about optimism, hope and idealism. Youth is the passion to want and work for a better world.

 

Middle age and older is the reality that Life is about paying bills, buying groceries and raising kids. Middle age means you learn to temper the passion of youth with the reality of daily life and the practical responsibilities that come with it.

 

In the United States Armed Forces the traditional term of enlistment is four years. A lot can happen in your life in four years.

 

You can join the military in “Peace time,” but, War doesn’t use a day planner. War can happen at any time. If you are on active duty or the reserves, when War begins. . .”Here are your orders. Get your gear and report to the flight line.”

 

In making your decision to join the military, forget what your girlfriend or boyfriend has to say. Unless, you are walking down the aisle and, then, into the military recruiter’s office to raise your right hand.

 

A girlfriend or boyfriend’s opinion means “Nothing” because you can change your mind about the person and end the relationship at any time.

 

A “new husband” or a “new wife” is a opinion that you should listen to about your consideration to join the military and the decision to enlist or accept a commission, if it sounds like that person is going to stand beside you and share your life.

 

In the United States Armed Forces, a spouse is as much on active duty as the military member because “Uncle Sam’s” decisions will affect the both of you.

 

Uncle Sam ain’t a family man.

unclesam

 

The mission of the government and the military always comes first.

 

If you want to be the best Little League Coach In United States History and influence generations of little bat swingers and base runners, then, pursue your dream, but: Stay Home. Don’t enlist.

 

The Real World military is not some silly baseball, basketball, football, soccer or golf game; it is a serious,professional calling that saves lives and carries forward a nation’s domestic and foreign policy in no uncertain terms.

 

At the end of the day, it will be you, who signs your signature on the forms and raises your right hand to recite the oath of military service.

 

I joined the United States Air Force because I needed a job.

 

I had been a professional “college student” long enough. I had taken the courses I needed and the “underwater basket weaving” courses that I found interesting. I still didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with “MY” Life.

 

I wanted to make a positive difference in the world.

 

I could never imagine “Mr. Warren” teaching history at Galena High School in Galena, Missouri.

 

Teaching history was never going to put me in the history books alongside General MacArthur or General Patton.

 

Mark Twain had already done the Missouri writer, author and newspaperman routine.

 

Missourian Walter Cronkite was still doing the “CBS Evening News” at the time and as a newsman ranked up there right alongside the president of the United States and all world leaders when it came to being an “international celebrity.”

 

Cronkite’s “credibility” as a newsman and a human being put him shoulder to shoulder with the pope.

 

Like all young men and women, I wanted my shot to help change the world.

 

It is nice to think someday some bored teenager is going to be looking at a photo of you in a history book and scoff, “What did you ever do that was so great ?”

 

All the great jobs and wonderful slots in history had already been taken when I decided to go “eyeball to eyeball with the world.”

 

Missourian General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing had already become the highest ranking American General after General George Washington, so, earning a place in US History or Military History would not be easy.

 

The reality is “Every man or woman, who earns the honor to wear their nation’s military uniform becomes a world leader, even if no one ever publishes their life story or pictures of the person in a history book. Day to day, military service has you carrying out tasks that carry your nation’s policies forward into making a positive change in the world.”

 

Everyone who wears a military uniform and works on behalf of their nation is a world leader.

 

If I were to walk into a room with the Queen of England, the pope, a president, a prime minister and a person in uniform. I would be respectful and polite to the people in the room. I would go to “The G.I.”, the person in uniform to talk and socialize because a military person is a unique person, who has a definite view and understanding of life.

 

The G.I., understands that life is about nobility, honor, credibility, loyalty and hard work. The G.I., understands courage and patriotism are virtues inscribed in your DNA and those virtues have to be lived and not taught or talked about.

 

A G.I., hopes to live long enough to tell “war stories” to his grand kids, but realizes Warribbon_small2 is the event that might require him or her to sacrifice his or her life for their fellow man.

 

Your choice to enlist in the military or accept a commission has to be your choice because it will affect your life from the day you enter “boot camp” until the day they fold and present the flag to your next of kin.

 

AIRMAN FIRST CLASS RANK_resizedA beautiful busty redhead United States Air Force buck sergeant once told an enthusiastic, gungho, flag-waving patriotic, energetic, Airman Warren, “Sam, you were born a civilian. The day will come when you take off the uniform and return to civilian Life.”

 

I grinned, “Not me.”

 

Time has proven we were both right.

 

I did retire from active duty and returned to civilian life – “Officially.”

THE GLOBE_resized

 

 

Global Family

 

I no longer put on the “blue suit” each day. I love to misplace my razor and go for days without shaving. Sometimes, I even take my time strolling into a barber shop for a hair cut.

 

Airman Warren was also right in his youthful arrogance and passion.

 

Staff Sergeant Warren did officially retire. Staff Sergeant Warren returned to “civilian life” and got accustomed to being called, “Mr. Warren,” or “Sam.”

 

But, after a career of military service, you never “truly” return to “civilian life” because you gain an international perspective of Life.

 

You realize Ramon Q. Saldana Jr., of Barangay Baras, Leyte, Republic of the Philippines works hard for his children and wants them to have a good life, while you know that Brenda Martin, of Abesville, Missouri, United States of America is still going to college and working at making her place in the world for a happy and successful life.

 

In the Family Of Humankind we are all related. A national policy of “Isolationism” is unrealistic – Thanks to World War II, which proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that no matter where you are in the world, War can find you.

 

Back in Missouri, I would hear friends remark, “American foreign aid is a dumb policy. We should keep that money here at home.” Money is like water; it has to move. When water stands in a hole, it stagnates and breeds mosquitoes, which carry disease.

 

The Message Of Money

 

When money stays in a bank and doesn’t move, it stagnates and breeds hostility among the citizens, who need the money for their businesses, pay their mortgages, car payments, buy groceries and pay their electric and water bills.

 

Eventually, Citizens get tired of reluctant banks and some citizens decide to carry guns to “liberate” the funds of banks and get the money moving.

 

I read an interview with a famous American bank robber and the interviewer asked, “Why do you rob banks ?”

 

That is where the money is,” replied the robber.

 

American foreign aid recognizes that money has to circulate to keep the world in business at home and abroad.

 

People or banks, who sit on money are only kidding themselves because everyone on the planet affects someone around them and an ocean or a mountain is no longer a permanent barrier,

 

Effective Economics

 

An economic crisis in China will affect Americans in the Ozarks. Before my wife and I sold Warren Land in Missouri, one of those walnut logs from Stone County, Missouri had been selected to be shipped to China to be manufactured into a table.

 

The Occupy Wall Street” and “The Arab Spring” movements are over . . .for now. People are no longer content to be peasants. People, now, expect a decent living wage, and an acceptable standard of living.

 

Thanks to facebook, tumblr,Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Word Press, Blogger, Flickr, Picasa and the Internet – the world is now a neighborhood.

 

Real time communication allows people around the world to check on friends and family wherever they are on the planet, so breaking news is now only seconds or minutes from reaching people.

 

Citizens Of The World

 

No longer is a person just a citizen of their barangay, county, parish,province,state,republic, country or nation. Now, every citizen truly is a Citizen Of The World.

 

Governments are aware that the citizens no longer expect to be treated like children, who are given candy and told to sit in the corner, while the world moves on.

 

International and national change is an element of life. Change is not always welcomed and sometimes, even governments are reluctant to accept change. Change is not always gradual or peaceful, sometimes change becomes violent and War erupts.

 

A person can choose to join and serve in the military or they can just hope that War will not happen in their lifetime and that they will not end up getting “drafted.”

 

Peace Is Unstable

 

For the record, Peace is unstable. Periods of peace on the world stage are few and far between.

 

Until the day comes when Israel’s Arab neighbors are no longer trying to destroy Israel, the idea of world peace will remain a childish fairy tale.

 

When you take the time to read the news and think about Life, you will realize that now you have to have an “international perspective” that goes beyond your city, state or nation.

 

The G.I., can “retire” or get the “honorable discharge”, but, you never truly return to civilian life because you have changed and now realize that you see and understand the world differently than the “civilians” around you.

 

In retirement, you maybe an “ordinary citizen” again, but, your choice to serve in the military changed your life. Whether you realize it or not; you now know what is truly important to you in your life. You know and understand your personal values.

 

The Choice

 

What makes a retired G.I., different that the citizen beside him or her ? The choice.

 

Joining the military is never about “getting a job”, “payment of college tuition”, “free medical or dental care,” or any of the other bogus justifications that we rationalize to our minds.

 

The decision, “to serve”, means that you hear a calling in your heart or mind that tells you: “This Is Who You Are ! ”

 

Heroic Heritage

 

Anyone can put on a uniform or Halloween costume and pretend to be in the military.

 

A veteran or retiree knows what it means to “wear the uniform” and “do what has to be done” to be worthy to wear that uniform and honor the memories of the legions of men and women who have worn a variation of that uniform down through the centuries.

 

A military veteran, a military retiree, a military reservist, and a military man or woman on active duty are simply citizens, who understand the importance of standing up for what you believe and having the courage to wear a uniform that proclaims I will go anywhere, anytime to defend my right and your right to live our lives as we see fit.

 

Citizenship In Action

 

Your decision to join your nation’s military always has to be your decision.

 

Whatever nation you live in and are a citizen of, then, the honor to serve your country is never a responsibility to be taken lightly. You represent your government, but, your heart and soul should always rest shoulder to shoulder with your fellow citizens. The government signs the paycheck, but, the citizens pay the taxes that allow the government to pay the troops on duty.

 

For what it is worth, if you do decide to enlist or accept a commission of military service, then, you have the admiration of one retired American sergeant. I salute you.

 

Welcome To The Immortal Legion !

 

 

Samuel

Word Warrior Warren

 

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Written by samwarren55

November 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Editorial, Family, Holidays, Opinion, Patriotism

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