Veterans and military personnel are all but a warrior caste now. They have a culture as frequently incomprehensible to those who haven’t served as any to be found in a foreign land. This could be a Good Thing or a Bad Thing depending on your perspective. If you’re one of those who’ve served (or are serving), Happy Veteran’s Day. We truly appreciate your service.
Today we’re going to do something a little different. We’re going to see what advice a veteran would give his or her children. We’ll begin with an excerpt from a letter our editor wrote to his son some time ago, and we invite you to weigh in. We are utterly certain what you contribute to this list will be both interesting and instructive.
Oh and by the way – this is our 1,000th article here on Breach-Bang-Clear. What an awesome day to celebrate that. Thank you for all your support over the years. Mad Duo
Advice to a Veteran’s Son
The following are a few of the things I put in a letter to my son, who read it and a few others at a youth retreat. Not all of the letter is here, and some of it may be a little out of context—in those cases, that’s because the missing elements are the business of no one but my boy and I. What remains should still make sense. I make no apologies for any of the ‘old-fashioned’ sentiments, but I invite you, mom or dad, to weigh in with what you would tell your child, boy or girl. Here it is, in no particular order:
Do good in the world, even if only in tiny increments.
Love your country, even if you dislike its government.
Find a way to serve your country. It does not have to be in the armed forces (though that is a noble calling) but you must serve in some capacity. Service to country is the sacred duty of a free people. You will be one of the few who remember this, which makes it all the more important.
Take care of your mother. No matter how frequently or how badly you disagree or how old you get, keep her safe from want or harm. Try to never raise your voice and never raise your hand to her.
Treat your wife, when you have one, with the same respect you do your mom.
Be neither timid nor overbold. Stand up for yourself and others. Sometimes violence is the answer. Sometimes it is stupid.
Do not worry when you question your path or your faith. Keep your mind and your heart open and be willing to listen. Someday, somehow, what you are supposed to do will become clear—but don’t be lazy waiting on it. There is nothing wrong with doubt or disbelief so long as neither paralyzes you. Faith, like life, is a journey. Faith is what happens when you’re waiting to figure out how to have faith.
Read Rudyard Kipling and Robert P. Tristram Coffin.
Know all the words to the national anthem and act appropriately when it is played. Do not be one of those dickheads who fails to render courtesy to the flag.
Your grandfather once told me to take Desiderata to heart. I recommend you do the same. Likewise he told me to read Bag of Tools by R.L. Sharpe. Likewise I commend you to do the same.
Triple check your AO and lock the door before you jerk off.
Be kind without being weak.
Tip your waitress well. Tip her stupid well if she is an older lady. That could be your mother or one of your aunts.
Read The Parable of the Talents.
Hold the door open—not just for females and old people, but especially for them.
Treat women the way you’d want a stranger to treat your sister.
When you screw something up or a make a mistake, own it, no matter how bad. Fix it, then carry on with pride and motivation.
Never forget, not ever, that I have loved you most since you first wrapped your tiny fingers around my thumb. That will never change.
Continue to be Daniel. He is a young man I admire very much.
TIME DEVM ET OPERARE IVSTITIAM – “Fear God and do what is right”