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“I got to serve with people who would lay down their lives for me, as I would for them.”
“I got to serve with people who would lay down their lives for me, as I would for them.”

Colonel David Martin King wrote this.
It’s the story of a Veteran.
Perfectly told on Veteran’s Day.

It will take you about 90 seconds to read.
And if you’re like me, after you read it you will feel proud to be an American.

Here’s what Colonel King wrote:

I served for just shy of 29 years in the United States Army.
When strangers hear about that, they often thank me for my service.

I accept the thanks but a part of me feels uncomfortable.
Strangers may thank me, but I didn’t do it for them.

I served because I loved what I was doing and I loved the people I serve with.

For me, it was no sacrifice to serve.
It was an honor and a pleasure.

I saw a Facebook meme with a definition of a Veteran:

“Person who wrote a blank check payable for an amount up to and including One’s Life.”

Yes, I wrote a blank check.
But in return I got to serve with my brothers and sisters in uniform, each of whom had written the same check.

Soldiers understand:
If we must, we will sacrifice anything and everything for the brothers and sisters who serve with us.

For most of us, that blank check is never cashed, or at least not for the full amount.

Maybe I would have a different attitude if my service had left me gravely injured or disabled.

I was in Kosovo and Bosnia and Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is another reason I feel vaguely uncomfortable when a stranger thanks me for my service.

I signed up in the early days of the Volunteer Army.
Pay was lousy and Soldiers did not receive a lot of love from their fellow citizens, but the country still needed to be defended.

Over the years, pay improved and the American public regained their faith in the armed services.

As they should:
The American military is the best in the world, something to be proud of.

But America is more than its military.
America is not a great country because it has a great military.
America has a great military because it is a great country.

Being a great country isn’t just about fighting terrorists in Syria.

It’s about having a strong, vibrant economy.
It’s about having a government that is accountable to the people.
It's about having a free press and divergent points of view.
It’s about having citizens who speak out against injustice.
It’s about having people with the courage to persevere when times are hard.

So yes, we need our military, but we also need the teachers, carpenters, food inspectors, dog walkers, WalMart greeters, stay-at-home mothers, plumbers, police officers, truck drivers, and farm workers.

All these people serve.
Our country would not be great without them.

I served as a Soldier.
I loved it and I would do it again.

If you want to thank me for my service, go ahead.
And let me thank you for yours.

Colonel David Martin King
U.S. Army


619 views Nov 12, 2017
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