Black Vet Blues


It’s a hard day to be a black vet.

But that is really every day. I can’t regret my life or choices, growing up an Air Force brat and serving myself in the Army. Because all is as it is supposed to be, in my personal view of the world. That means nothing has ever been a mistake. We do our best and make our choices based upon the best information we have at the time.

I did it because it was a choice that I was familiar with, one that my father and his father made before me. Navy, Air Force and Army. And I needed college money, which later paid for a Bachelors, a Masters and the Texas Hazelwood Act for Vets has paid for a PhD.

I am proud to have served in this nation’s military despite those who would denigrate me today based upon the color of my skin. My permanent duty was served in Kaiserslautern, West Germany, on Rhine Ordnance Barracks, with the 39th Transportation Battalion, under 1st TMCA.

As my friend PW Covington, a fellow Vet and poet, stated today as well, it is a confusing time in the larger scale, but our service was as much about the people we served with as anything else.

Still processing the larger, present dilemma our nation faces, but one thing I know we all say and mean from the bottom of our hearts is that we served to protect freedoms, such as they are.

Despite the corporate nature of the war I served in, Desert Storm, and those since, up until our current entanglements, the vast majority of soldiers hold higher ideals. Want the best for this nation. Their families, friends and communities.

Vets have difficulty getting quality medical service. Getting help with psychological trauma. Finding and holding jobs. Sometimes it seems like we served in vain. That nobody truly appreciates those willing to make the Ultimate Sacrifice for their fellow citizens. Or those who did. But young people continue to enlist. And serve. Because our ideals and belief in what this nation represents to the world is transcendent.

When we return to civilian life, our training remains a part of us but we continue to fight at the local and national levels for those same ideals that our nation often does not represent, internally or externally around the world.

It is a process. The perfecting of the union. Despite our major differences, this remains the goal. With such major differences separating our populations and interests, whether it can be perfected or not remains at issue.

Which is why today is especially bittersweet.

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