ON THE 11th HOUR, OF THE 11th DAY, OF THE 11th MONTH, in 1918....Germany signed an Armistice with The Allies in a secluded railway boxcar in The Compiegne Forrest in Northern France, ending the hostilities and carnage of World War One. The Great War. The War to End All Wars!!!
We all know now what a foolish and idealistic statement that was...It was known as Armistice Day until 1954 when President Eisenhower signed a bill renaming it Veterans' Day. It is always celebrated on the 11th of November, unless the 11th is on a Sunday. Then it is celebrated on the following Monday. If the 11th is on a Saturday, then it is celebrated on the preceding Friday!!
In 1965, the Viet Nam war was just getting started. I was in 10th grade. We didn't know how long the war would last, and we were all hoping it would be over by the time we graduated...No such luck!! I remember like it was yesterday my buddy Smitty saying to me in class in our Senior Year, " did you hear about Dan Desco?" I said , "No, what?"...Smitty said, "he came home in a body bag!". I think thats when it finally hit me. We were going to the drive-in, playing football, watching Star-Trek on "Color TV", and our life-long friends were getting Jungle Rot and blown up by children.
To get out of the military draft, you went to college. The only drawback to that is you had to maintain a 2.0 gpa, and major in something else other than Fraternity Hi-Jinx and Euchre!!
So in 1969 I lost my 2-S student deferment and became 1-A. I was drafted and was sent to Fort Wayne in Detroit for my Induction Physical. Now you have to understand something, these were some very heavy war years, and they told us that you may not come back home right away. There was a chance that upon passing your physical, that you could immediately be sent to Fort Knox Kentucky for boot camp. I remember leaving the Post Office by bus that day, watching my Grandma crying on the sidewalk, not knowing when we would see each other again.
The induction physical was a crazy experiance. The place was a huge drafty (no pun intended) facility, and you were one of about 2000 young men shuffling about in nothing but your underwear, getting weighed, probed, poked, ande tested. At the end of the day I stood at attention in front of an old grizzled Army Doctor, as he very closely read my chart, he looked up at me, then down at my chart. Up at me, then down at my chart. Finally he said..."Son, normally we give you six months to take that lard off, but at 305 we'll give you a YEAR!! Uncle Sam can't use you right now..." So I was issued a 1-Y deferment, and was sent home. At the end of a year my family doctor was given a military form to send back to the Army. I weighed a robust 340#'s and was given a 4-F deferment...PERMANTLY DEFERRED!! I then went on a diet and lost 70 pounds..hehehe.
Let me say this...I would have went into the Military. I didn't have the guts to go to Canada!!
I respect every single person that ever served our country. My sister was in the Navy for 14 years. My brother Mark is retired from the Air Force, and my brother Matt is retired from the Navy.
BLESS YOU ALL, that are serving, or have served your Great Country!