As we approach Veterans Day on Sunday, Nov. 11, my memory shifts back to an early 1970s Thanksgiving weekend at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.
I was then a young Petty Officer and public affairs staff member assigned to the Secretary of the Navy.
For a portion of that weekend, I welcomed home flag draped stainless steel caskets of fallen Vietnam War personnel. It was truly a humbling experience during a trying era for a divided America.
My mind moves forward to this year, when I visited Chicago's National Veterans Art Museum. Known as Above and Beyond memorial display, in the building's two story open atrium, hung 58,000 plus silver and gold military "dog tags" representing those who perished in Vietnam. There was another 1,200 "dog tags" of those remains who have been identified since the United States exited Vietnam in April 1975.
From the American Revolution to today's domestic needs and overseas conflicts, opinions on military action have always been varied. The beauty within America's democracy is that our opinions can be controversial and vocal.
Today's military is much more global, compressed, and technical. For the most part, I also find our noncommissioned and commissioned leaders much more "tuned in" with leadership and people motivation skill. This is especially important during rapid decision making.
I am thankful to have served under dynamic and caring commanding officers, who unbeknownst to me, acted as mentors and role models to me in later years.
This coming Sunday, as we celebrate the end of World War I, on the 11th month, the 11th day, during the 11th hour, please take a moment to reflect and thank Michigan's 700,000 veterans along with the nation's other 24 million living veterans who proudly served our nation, as well as those who are on active duty.
Jeffrey D. Brasie
JO2- USN; ENSGN - USNR
Michigan Primary Care Consortium