After I graduated from High School, I had several choices to make. I had to choose between going into the workforce, Tech school, or college. The one choice that I never even considered was military service. For a long time I never appreciated the commitment young men were making when it came to military service. I pretty much figured that I wasn’t cut out to be a trained killer. I was a lover not a fighter. That being said, I never discounted the value of military service either. I never ridiculed anyone for making that choice. I just knew that military service wasn’t for me.
As I grew older and realized that I didn’t know everything, I came to appreciate the sacrifices that young men and women make when they join the military. Now more than ever before I have come to respect the commitment and the sacrifice our soldiers make when they decide to enlist.
Sometimes commitment comes easy. The biggest and easiest commitment I ever decided to make was when the lovely and talented Priscilla became my bride. That commitment was a no-brainer for me. However, the decision to commit to military service isn’t easy to make, especially now that our country is at war. That’s why I was extremely honored and proud today.
With Fort Gordon right around the corner from my restaurant, I am privileged to serve many, many servicemen. I make it a point to learn the different insignia and ranks so that I can properly address each soldier. I have befriended many of these heroes who come in regularly. However, I was totally shocked and surprised when a Captain approached me today and asked me if it was alright to have a re-enlistment ceremony in my store. I emphatically answered, “Yes.” It turns out that when a non-commissioned officer re-enlists, they get to choose where the ceremony takes place. This young Sergeant chose my restaurant. I was truly humbled and honored and proud.
This Sergeant was making one of the biggest commitments he will ever make in his life, and he wanted to make it in my restaurant. Even though my lunch crowd was going strong, about twelve soldiers gathered in the corner. The Captain and several Lieutenants watched as the sergeant read, and signed the re-enlistment papers. Then the Command Sergeant Major swore him in with an American Flag as a backdrop.
After the Sergeant was officially sworn in, the small group of soldiers broke out in applause. I was pretty wrapped up in the whole ceremony thing and not really paying attention to the line of customers. But when the soldiers began clapping for their Sergeant, the line of customers also began clapping and cheering for the young man. Twenty or so people put aside their own personal thoughts and focused their attention on the young Sergeant and his fearless commitment to protecting our country and our freedoms. I was speechless.
I hear in the news that people are tired of the war on terror. I hear reports that the backs of our young soldiers are broken. I hear reports that enlistment numbers are down. I call bullshit! Today I watched the truth happen before my very eyes. Today the truth set me free.
Dax publishes his blog " The Dax Files" at www.daxmontana.net . Just click the link in the blogroll and stop by and see him sometime.
(originally posted 2-12-06 on Yahoo 360)