Growing up NAVY was something I was not sure of when I was a kid. I didn't know what a Navy was until I was old enough to understand I'd be here for a little bit. Here being Earth, Alive, Breathing.
You see when some of us land here from the clouds, we're never sure how long we'll be playing in the playground known as LIFE. But as time went on, and I grew, I began to understand what a Navy was, what its function was, and how it as an organization, an entity served a greater good. This went for all of the services, but for me and others around me whose parents were in the Navy, it was our focus.
Growing up overseas I got to appreciate many things. Different cultures, languages, food, clothing, lifestyles. I saw America through different eyes as a lot of my early childhood was spent out of the country. I was in Boston when Kennedy was assassinated. I was in Virginia when Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were gunned down...I was also in Virginia when Armstrong pushed Aldrin out of the way so he could take "One small step for man...One Giant Leap for Mankind" onto the surface of the moon.
Along the way of growing up overseas and then coming back to the Mainland, only to leave again, go back overseas for a tour of duty, and then return again to the Mainland and once again to go back overseas and stay away from the mainland for an extended period, I appreciated one thing more than anything...VETERANS.
We were overseas during some prime conflicts. VIETNAM...Dad served 3 tours there. I have his medals and Presidential Commendations as a memory of that time. More than that, welded into my consciousness is what it was like when he returned home from the War and how it took time to acclimate to being normal once again and not jumping at the sound of everything, however for a while it was touch and go as one single loud noise would result in Dad leaping over a couch for cover and shouting commands to people to prepare for incoming. Yes, I had an interesting childhood, but all along the way, I learned that for certain things it was worth dedicating your life, your heart to.
As Dad would tell me, Son...DUTY - Is the things we do, or are ordered to do. HONOR - Is how we perform those duties and others. COUNTRY and FAMILY are the reasons why we perform those duties in an honorable fashion.
You see the words on his headstone (seen below) are not there by mistake. They are words which I hold sacred even now that he's gone, as that was how I served when I was in the Navy as well.
On this day when we HONOR our VETERANS, it's nice to see businesses, especially those who serve FOOD and DRINK do something special to give THANKS to those who've served and are here to be a symbol of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that people can live as they do in this country and others. So that businesses can provide value for their shareholders (MANY WHO ARE VETERANS), so that they can feel good about saying THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING ME A PLACE I CAN CALL HOME.
THANK YOU from me and the Spirit of my now deceased Father for showing a Veteran some respect this day. For without them and all of the others who gave their lives along the way to this date, we'd not have an AMERICA to call home. Yes, even the forefathers, who fought in wars while signing parchment to establish this country...they're Veterans as well and their sacrifice is never forgotten. It cannot be. For when it is, this country as UNITED as it is ceases to exist and that would truly be a sad day and one I pray that I will be long gone before it happens.
For one business in particular...I hope some of your employees see this and take the message in it to heart. Starbucks @starbucks on twitter SBUX on Nasdaq... You might want to take a headcount at your next Shareholders meeting to see how many of your shareholders are VETERANS and how many of them approve of your "No we don't do anything for Veterans on Veteran's Day" stand. It's pretty damn pitiful that you do business under the umbrella of this flag, but yet do nothing on a day set aside to honor those who defend her shores so you can sit on your fat asses and rake in the profits from everyone, including VETERANS.
Hell even DENNY'S does something for VETERANS. Follow their example, dig your head out into the sunshine and be more AMERICAN. After all, you're here, you should be thankful for those who walk the walls, sail the seas, soar through the air ensuring you have a place to do business and to flourish.
For all others that do honor VETERANS...THANK YOU FOR DOING SO. WE ALL APPRECIATE THAT YOU DO.
For all of my brothers and sisters in arms, wherever you are, I SALUTE YOU and THANK YOU for ALL that YOU and YOUR FAMILIES DO to support our Armed Forces.
GOD BLESS & HAPPY VETERANS DAY - CELEBRATE the SPIRIT of those who've gone before us.
Michael E. Murdock, United States Navy Disabled Veteran