Posted by Carl Incognito
A deep respect and appreciation for the men and women of our armed services is something I’ve always had, even before the war on terror, when it became largely fashionable to praise the troops. It is clear to me that almost my entire existence, as I know it, was provided by the sacrifice and dedication of our military, along with the founding documents of our government. When you know this, and your father served as a Captain in the Army, appreciation comes easy. However, these weren’t the only reasons for my admiration. Mainly, it is a soldier’s ability to put themselves last, for a greater good, that humbled me.
You see, although I still hope to out grow it eventually, I was born seemingly incapable of obeying authority (I fled corporate America and bought a bar, for crying out loud!). If you were not my father, or mother, there was just no way that you were going to tell me what to do or how to do it. Defiance comes as natural to me as breathing in many ways. So, were I ever to join the military, I’d end up in the brig and dishonorably discharged, therefore weakening our forces and being counterproductive to the task at hand, namely protecting our freedoms. I’m just glad I’m smart enough to both know this weakness and to praise those who don’t have it and are brave enough to wear a uniform.
Every June, Portland hosts the Rose Festival. Part of the pageantry is the Rose Festival Fleet, a group of navy ships with sailors and marines who partake in the fun and spend a few days in our fine city. In my establishment, it isn’t uncommon to see a group in uniform come in for some dinner and a drink or two. Hopefully three or four. I say that without profit in mind. Quite the opposite. My staff has been instructed that anyone who is active duty military gets their tab comped, within reason, or course, and that a sincere “thank you for your service” should be stated when delivering the free food or spirits.
When giving these instructions, some of the newer members of my staff have looked at me as if I were a fool. That is an opportunity for an education, in my opinion. It’s easy to explain to them that the men and women who serve our country have done more to provide us with our own existence than any other group who isn’t our parents. I explain how hundreds and hundred of thousands have died to allow us to vote or not, get a job or not, and live in a country were we can reach for the highest of successes, or not. While doing this, they spend many months, and sometimes years away from friends and loved ones. And I illustrate how these people essentially work 24 hours a day, and don’t often get to go to the clubs or a neighborhood party. This seems to make sense to my staff.
So with all this to consider, is it really that big of a deal for a grateful, average Joe who is in a position to do so, to give up a free burger and beer to member of the military and deliver it with a pat on the back? No, not in the least bit.
Thank you to everyone serving in the American armed forces.