I Salute You! And only You.



Join up and be a man. Join up and see the world. Join up for the adventure. Join up to learn a valuable trade. These and many more PR tidbits still ring in my head. It’s funny; no one ever said, “Join up to stick your hand inside your best friend’s chest cavity in a futile attempt to save him.”

Where was the commercial about only sending us to the shittiest assholes around the globe? To the most god-awful heat and humidity; which was actually sub-zero compared to the hellish and volcanic emotions vomited on us by the locals: and those were supposed to be our allies.

Where was the commercial about the exotic cuisine… both eating and being eaten by? Monkey brains, insect stew, tarantulas, snake, maggoty meat pies, and gallons of blood… to keep you full and enticing to the swarms of kamikaze mosquitoes from the air, and the submariner legions of leeches infesting nearly every putrid waterway you’re forced to traverse.

Where was the commercial about the people you were helping betraying you in every way imaginable? The lovely ladies with soulless black hearts that would tempt and seduce the lonely GIs, only to surprise them with razor-sharp blades placed in their pussies for a sensual mood-killing surprise; or worse, those truly sadistic that would literally bite a mouthful off in the middle of fellatio. Or the men and women that would send their own children wearing the latest explosive fashions into a group of GIs to blow them to kingdom come.

Where was the commercial about “all is fair in love and war?” Which, when translated, meant we were expected to follow the most restricting rules of engagement while the enemy, so-called allies, and any other trigger-happy, booby-trap rigging, motherfucker could make up their own rules as they go, while our Brass-Hats mutually masturbated to please whichever politically correct puppeteers are in power at the time.

America is a country that lies, cajoles, seduces, and manipulates its bravest and finest young men and women to wear the uniforms and bear the burden and responsibility of fighting for our freedoms, and cleaning up the messes around the world that our politicians and corporations continually create or exacerbate for political or financial gain. And yet I still run into people who have no clue why we honor our fallen heroes, or why they should respect anyone that willingly puts on a uniform. Go figure!

To all my fallen brothers and sisters, who understand my rant—I salute you! I do not salute you for this country or its leaders. I salute you for your willingness to bear the burdens, to accept the responsibility, and to sacrifice for an ideal that this country and its leaders have tarnished beyond all repair. I salute you for your youthful exuberance, your dedication, and your professionalism. And, most of all, I salute you for your courage to stay beside your comrades in the heat of battle, to save many of your brothers-in-arms, and to willingly pay the ultimate sacrifice: making sure that it costs the enemy dearly. In short, on this day, I salute you and only you, my fallen brothers and sisters.


24 thoughts on “I Salute You! And only You.

  1. LionAroundWriting May 31, 2016 / 12:54 am

    A sobering and evocative piece, great write.
    While I never understand patriotism or anyone willing to kill at the whims of people that would never serve themselves, in lands they usually have zero right to be in, I don’t doubt the courage needed in battle, or the naive risk taken by those seduced into warfare especially in America, as the rewards are very alluring especially to those without qualifications, medical insurance etc.
    However, bar the World Wars when fighting was of a necessity, I cannot feel sorrow for anyone who dies as a combatant in subsequent wars. Nobody is forced to go, everyone knows the risk involved.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mary Cathleen Clark May 31, 2016 / 3:06 am

      Lion, during the Vietnam war, many young men right out of high school in the US, my brother included, were drafted, no choice in the matter. Only those in college, or their parents had “connections”, were exempt. Some fled to Canada to escape serving. And yes, some young men joined, for a variety of reasons.
      Though I don’t always agree with what my country does, I will stand behind her, and if that makes me patriotic, so be it. There are worse things to be.
      As for the men and women who have served, and serve now, in our military, I have the upmost respect for them. They join, knowing full well they may be sent into battle and die, because they love our country and wish to defend it and their fellow Americans.
      And please pause for a minute and think about all the US military has done for the entire world. Think about where your own country might be now if the US had stayed out of World War Two, think about Hitler. Think how our strong military has kept many tyrants in check.
      Sadly, our government has abdicated its responsibility to care for our brave veterans. But even more sad, is how the younger generation now view those who have served in the military–they are the ones who are naïve, not our veterans.

      Liked by 4 people

      • LionAroundWriting June 1, 2016 / 5:25 pm

        Well we disagree 🙂
        But sending troops to Iraq/ Afghanistan is not making anyone safer. For a start the US, UK and various other countries armed and or funded Bin Laden and Hussein.
        And the US only entered WWII after Japan provoked them – they were reluctant to participate until that point but of course what they did was of huge significance.
        And yes, the lack of care for veterans is terrible and really sums up how disposable a human life is to governments.

        Liked by 2 people

      • jwtatfbc June 2, 2016 / 1:58 am

        You tell Mary Cathleen Clark that sending troops to Irag/Afghanistan is not making anyone safer. Perhaps not on the global scale; but the troops on the ground are continually told by the locals how much they are appreciated (regardless of what the governments, terrorists, and even the liberal media report). And this has often been the case. And yes, I know there have been some abuses throughout history, but there have been far more positive relationships built than negatives at the ground level, where the troops are. At least, where our country is concerned. Try finding that same statistic where socialist, communist, and Muslim countries invade or occupy. You can’t.

        You also said in your first comment that you will never understand “patriotism.” That sounds like you will not even defend your own country.

        And speaking of country; you make a habit of putting down the U.S. and U.K (both of which have led the way and helped on a global scale many times throughout their histories); but you conveniently fail to show even one thing your country ever did to create a positive global outcome–although Scotland piggy-backed along with the U.S. and U.K. whenever it suited their purpose.

        I guess that’s why it doesn’t surprise me that you also state that you “cannot feel sorrow for anyone who dies as a combatant” in any war following the World Wars.

        Therefore, in your own words, you show us that you fail to see the good done because it’s not on a global scale. You are not even a patriot of your own country, because you claim you will never understand patriotism. That you’re willing to point fingers at the U.S. and U.K.; even though they have long histories of helping many other countries both on and off the global level; while you fail to show any similar positives from your country. And that you’re apparently callous enough that you “cannot feel sorrow for anyone who dies as a combatant” in any war following the World Wars.

        And though I respect your right to your beliefs, do you honestly think those traits speak well of your own humanity and level of compassion?

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mary Cathleen Clark June 2, 2016 / 4:38 pm

        I think we will have to just drop it…we are at polar opposites on this, and I don’t think there will ever be a meeting of minds.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mary Cathleen Clark June 13, 2016 / 4:02 am

        Thank you, Paul. I can get a bit testy when people put down our military men and women. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 3:41 am

      Before I saw your response, which I thank you for, I noticed that Mary Cathleen Clark replied to you as well. And she did a very good job. I’m a disabled veteran from the Vietnam era, and while I have a huge bone to pick regarding our country’s so-called leadership and the way vets are treated and have been treated throughout history, I respect anyone willing to bear the responsibility to serve. And the World Wars were not the only ones that were necessary; although the leadership did make things worse. And Vietnam still had many drafted as well, of which many came from the poor economic ranks of our nation while the wealthier sons could simply go to college if they chose.

      However, anyone that has the guts to put on a uniform and fulfill the responsibilities that go with it do deserve the respect of all; for they fought for your freedoms, in defense of this country and the defense of others. And most importantly, as most vets know, they fought for their uniformed brothers and sisters right there beside them on the battlefields. Because when the bullets are flying and bombs are blasting you don’t think of Mother Country and Uncle Sam, you think of survival of you and your buddies. And that takes guts. People who don’t just talk, they walk the walk, putting actions behind their beliefs and convictions.

      So, while I thank you for your response, and respect you for speaking what you believe, I definitely disagree when it comes to honoring those who serve… and especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for others.

      Liked by 4 people

      • LionAroundWriting June 1, 2016 / 5:20 pm

        Fair enough.
        I don’t doubt the bravery to face bullets once in the thick of it, but I question the decision by governments the world over to put people in those situations. And Vietnam was a little different in that a draft was used, so many will have felt they had no choice.


    • Poet Rummager May 31, 2016 / 9:29 am

      Thank you for your post and service, JW.

      My husband is currently serving in the Air Force Reserves, and is retiring next year after 27 years in the military. Why would *anyone*, without first-hand knowledge of the United States military, address our soldiers as naive and without qualifications? My husband has a Masters in Education, and we know many who are certainly very qualified in their careers.

      I honor all our fallen soldiers, and yes, I’m patriotic and damn proud of it.

      Liked by 4 people

      • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 5:31 pm

        Thank you, Rose. And tell your husband I truly respect him and thank him for his service as well. I had planned on being a career soldier until I was injured; and I truly respect such a lengthy commitment.

        As for why individuals who don’t have first hand experience denigrate soldiers, or do not feel compassion for what they have done for the country and everyone in it, I do not know if there is a simple answer. However, your husband and I served so that all could still enjoy the freedoms they have; including the freedom to disagree in a way that seems foolish to those of us who have been there. And so I’ll defend their right to their belief… but I will not agree with it in anyway, shape or form.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LionAroundWriting June 1, 2016 / 5:29 pm

        I never questioned the qualifications of anyone. But there is a predisposition for high school grads to sign up who don’t have much life experience hence easier to poach.
        And I strongly question anyone signing up unless it’s their only option for an income etc – look at the wider picture. What has the US war machine acheived during and since Desert Storm?


  2. Mary Cathleen Clark May 31, 2016 / 3:50 am

    My friend, I feel your pain and your anger at our government. But I do know that many in our country, myself included, still respect all you and other vetrans have sacrificed for your fellow Americans, in fact, the whole world. And this woman thanks you from the bottom of her heart for your service.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 3:52 am

      Thank you, Cathy, my dear friend. That means a lot coming from you. And I know of your brother’s service and thank him as well. And lets not forget that when a family member serves it effects their entire family, who also have to make sacrifices.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mary Cathleen Clark May 31, 2016 / 4:01 am

        You’re welcome, JW. So many in the younger generation don’t realize that sometimes wars have to be fought, (it would be wonderful if they didn’t) and it takes a special breed of people–such as yourself–willing to lay their lives on the line, to keep our entire world out of the hands of fanatics. One can’t say pretty please, don’t do this, to groups such as ISIS and expect to get results. One has to fight fire with fire.

        Liked by 3 people

      • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 4:04 am

        Sad, but true, my friend. How soon they forget the trade towers, or the Boston bombing. If we don’t meet it on their soil, it will definitely come to ours. But we also need better leaders that know what to do and have the guts to do it so that it doesn’t drag out for many years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark May 31, 2016 / 4:09 am

        And the recent bombings in France and Belgium…

        I agree, our government is sorely lacking in quality leadership right now, and has for quite some time. One can only hope things improve.

        Liked by 2 people

      • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 4:12 am

        Yes, hope… But it’s still a good sign that this country still grows enough young men and women with the courage to do what’s needed when the time comes. And it’s primarily from traditional families that still believe in our freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Cathleen Clark May 31, 2016 / 4:16 am

        Yes, thankfully we still have good people who haven’t been brainwashed by the far left. I’m off to bed now, my wonderful friend. Good night and sweet dreams. And again, thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • jwtatfbc May 31, 2016 / 4:17 am

        You are so welcome. And good night and sweet dreams to you as well, Pretty Lady.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. poeturja June 6, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    Hi JW, just thought I’d jump into this discussion. As a hippie who believed/believes in love and peace, want you to know that my brother, cousins, friends, neighbors and former husband were all drafted and most served in Vietnam, were wounded there, or died there. I grew up blue collar and that meant there weren’t many boys (we’re talking 18 year old children) who could afford to attend college since there was no financial aid at the time. Many couldn’t get past the first year and then were drafted since they lost their college deferment. So neither I nor my hippie friends ever spit on a serviceman/woman or would feel they were wrong. Everyone has to do what they think is right. I will always be anti-war, but will always support the right of those who answer the call to fight. I do take exception to governments involving us in war, but that is another argument that I’ve learned to protest, within the system, by writing letters. So just want to thank you for your service and let you know that some of us were anti-war, but most of us were not anti-serviceperson.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jwtatfbc June 7, 2016 / 3:19 am

      I want to thank you for the response, Clarissa. It is definitely a topic that often divides people, and I’m glad you approach it respectfully. And I’m glad you weren’t one of those that spit on servicemen or threw bags of feces at them when they got off the planes. Most of us would never have wanted to fight if there were acceptable alternatives. And many of us began our tours very idealistic; but lost it after betrayal after betrayal from both the government and our country’s citizens. And I appreciate you thanks.

      Liked by 2 people

    • echoesofthepen June 12, 2016 / 11:29 pm

      Hello JW…

      I’d like to thank you for such a heart-felt and poignant post but also for your service and standing shoulder to shoulder with your military brothers, sisters, and family of the UK. I’ve been lucky in that I came through my service relatively unscathed physically but many did not or survive at all. I too question some of the policies of our respective governments but like yourself and all who willingly serve we did so with commitment and pride. I respect the views of those who are totally opposed to the military and war in general but I also respect those who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so others are free to hold such opposing views. My sincere regards… Paul… ex Gunner, Royal Regiment of Artillery, British Army

      Ps.. Hi Cathy, great to see you about again…

      Liked by 2 people

      • jwtatfbc June 13, 2016 / 3:21 am

        Hey Paul,
        I thank you so much for the kind response, and you have my respect as well for your service. And I’ll let Cathy know of your response, for she is a dear friend.


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