Eleven

 
 11 Nov 2023 @ 1:01 AM 

At the 11th minute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the armistice which was meant to end the War to End All Wars went into effect. As is typical, the guns didn’t fall silent at the appointed hour, and both sides continued shelling each other until sundown. The armistice was extended multiple times before the peace treaty was finally signed over seven months later. But the repetition of the numbers feels good and it’s the date we ended up with for Armistice Day, later Veterans Day. A day to celebrate the cessation of a horrific war has become a day to celebrate all the people who have served in all the military conflicts of all time. I’ll leave it to learned philosophers to ferret out some meaning in that transition.

I was born into a military family, as evidenced by my Spanish birth certificate and State Department form that has caused no end of confusion over the decades, in schools and later. I never intended to enlist, but the Reagan Recession changed a lot of plans for Gen X folks. Twelve years later, I finally left the U.S. Army, and wanted nothing to do with the military ever again.

Job searches proved that, despite my innate charm and dazzling intellect, I was not going to be given a millionaire’s salary right away. It turns out that an active clearance is worth about six figures to an employer who needs to fulfill certain government contracts, and thus began a series of events where I was never qualified for any position I ever attained. Thankfully, the ability to learn is the way to keeping the job that the clearance let me get.

Here I am, 22 years after getting out, and over five decades of holding a DoD identification of some kind. That’s pretty weird for someone on the left of the political spectrum (in the context of the rightward shift of the Overton Window in the USA), to some. I encounter people nearly every week that assume that all veterans are right-wing MAGA supporters, although that may also be because I’m in west Texas.

I’m incredibly proud to be helping, in my small way, to produce the best-trained military intelligence people we can. I’m not in any way ashamed of my own military service, although I don’t think I accomplished a whole lot compared to so many others. I definitely wish the military wasn’t needed, but (looks around at the whole world), ya know.

Happy Veterans Day to all my fellow veterans, and long life and happiness to every one.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Nov 2023 @ 04:39 PM

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