A Reflection On Veterans
Naval Special Warfare Archives -
SOF Analyst and Contributing Journalist
A recent article on an Internet web site serving the military community DCMILITARY.COM carried a letter from a subscriber and the response from one of the site's staff.
In the article
entitled Marriage and Military Life by Gene-Thomas Gomulka, a woman expresses
her gratitude to Mr. Gomulka for his assistance in her search for a Navy
Mr. Gomulka responded to Deceived by posting her letter as she had requested, and then added his own thoughts on the matter. He went to great lengths to expound on the potential problems inherent in online/email relationships. Principal in his remarks were the ideas that some people will stoop so low as to conceal their marriage and/or children from their online contacts. He goes on to remark at length regarding online matchmaking services and the pros and cons associated with questions about likes, dislikes, and compatibility in general. He concludes his comments with book and reference recommendations such as The Survival Guide for Marriage in the Military.
What Mr. Gomulka
completely avoided was any mention of the man's false claims of being a
military veteran, or his very specific and very false claims of being a Navy
You'd think that with
it being a military-themed site Mr. Gomulka might use a few words like
despicable , dishonest , or wannabe and I'd certainly have thought he might
write a sentence or two in reflection on the serious nature of the insult the
imposter's actions have presented to the military community in general, and to
When I discussed
this article with a number of my
reflection it occurs to me that it all really comes down to a single factor; we
are the only ones that know what we gave (and gave up) to achieve what we
achieved. When it comes to the
They never get around
to mentioning the extreme personal sacrifices needed to not only complete the
training program, but to continue serving as a
In truth, this is the
image that is now afforded to almost all military portrayals on the movie
screen, not just Navy
Sadly, the entertainment media has almost single handedly brought about a change in the public's perception of what is required of our military veterans and our heroes . No longer are they expected to be humble and self-effacing as in days past. Instead they are expected to stand with hands on hips, loudly proclaiming their personal toughness, while intermittently thumping their chests, growling loudly (around the knife clamped in their teeth), and glowering menacingly at those around them. An acquaintance described them accurately enough as cold hearted, knife-toting, lead-spraying, camo-faced, parachuting, bringers of indiscriminate death!
If this sounds like a
joke, I invite you to spend an hour watching professional wrestling on television.
For indeed, those are the heroes for today's modern youth, and this is the
behavior they have come to expect from their heroes .
If they assign the word hero to anyone, they expect that person to conduct himself (or herself) in the self-aggrandizing manner they
have seen portrayed. Is there any wonder that so many are ready to accept as
true and believable the wild stories
enjoy a greater public respect now than at anytime in the last four decades.
Sadly, with that increased measure of respect and admiration come those who
seek to claim a portion of it for themselves without
actually earning it. These imposters increasingly model themselves after the
Military veterans aren't all heroes , and loudly proclaiming that they are all heroes only serves to cheapen the special concept conveyed by that word. But most assuredly all of our military veterans are patriots, and worthy of the admiration of our youth. I ask you to remember the traits I described earlier. Unbelievable and incredible things do happen in time of war, but the vast majority of true military veterans won't readily discuss or describe these things.
Should you chance to
hear someone telling stories of standing knee deep in grenade pins, surrounded
by enemy forces, outgunned and outnumbered, yet prevailing against
insurmountable odds, you are more likely to be in the presence of a
professional wrestler or a fan of