We all have a unique point of view of the military.
That perspective is reflective of our beliefs and background.
I have never served in the military and I can’t pretend to know what it is like any more than I can, as a Caucasian, truly understand the pains of discrimination faced by minorities. I have never looked down the barrel of an enemy, left my family for months at a time or handled a weapon.
Regardless, I am free. Free because others have served, sacrificed, died. And, believe me, I care.
My grandfather served during World War I and my father during World War II, my eldest son is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and my youngest son is in the Air Force.
I saw high school classmates get drafted, shipped to VietNam and not return. As a long time high-school teacher, I taught numerous students who fathers and mothers were forever absent for military duties, and some of those parents, like my classmates, never came home.
On Memorial Day, it is time to forget about our complaints over military spending, noisy flyovers and the effect of the Navy on the quality of life on Whidbey Island.
It is time to reflect on the overall quality of life we have in the United States because of those who served – and are serving – in the military. That’s our military, your military. No, we don’t own the military. We owe the military.
Whatever your point of view of the military – whether a hawk or dove, veteran or conscientious objector – it should not subtract from the honor due those who died serving our country.
Therefore, to those who made it possible for me to worship at the church of my choice and write what I please for this newspaper, I say, “Thank you. I am forever grateful.”
• Jim Waller covers sports news for South Whidbey Record and Whidbey News-Times.