You may note the date and time of posting. It's actually Monday night as I write this. I've got a rarity, an actual scheduled day "in the loop" driving tours. No charters, no night tours, no standby. So instead of being rushed, I have time for thought.
So of course today's blog wrote itself. I will preface the story below - I work for a veteran friendly company. Back when I was Head Conductor, we conducted several recruiting events with the veteran's home here in Boston. We had some successes, some failures, but the point is that we made the effort.The story I'm linking today is a rather lengthy and very sobering read
. When our veterans returned flush with victory from Europe and the Pacific generations ago, they were greeted by a grateful nation. As we transitioned from a wartime footing back to civilian life, companies were tripping over themselves to hire anybody and everybody. Those that chose not to immediately return to work had the benefit of the GI Bill that paid for higher learning and even better post-war careers.
So here we are today, about seven weeks post-Afghanistan. We were never truly committed to this war as a nation. We did not need to change manufacturing and industry from civilian goods to military needs for the duration. The military never expanded into the millions - it just kept recycling the few hundred thousand "all-volunteers" until they were completely spent.
As a nation, we have actually failed at our self-appointed role as the "global leader", whatever that means. In particular, we have completely failed our veterans and their families. The story does not state if the veteran's forebears served in that aforementioned titanic struggle. But if they did, it is a sad commentary on what those who chose to serve now face after returning from a dismal failure.
Reading today's story, one thing in particular leaps out at me.
My service wasn't an accomplishment. It was a liability. It was just missed years of real employment -- as far as I could see.
We have indeed truly turned our back on ourselves (is that possible?) if real-world experiences are less valuable than having a damn piece of paper with a famous school's name on it - and of course the associated Giles-Coreyesque crushing weight of debt.