Growing up in the military

Published 11:00 pm Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest Column by Randy Ross

As we approach Veterans Day, I am reminded of the time that I first raised my hand and was sworn in to serve my country in the U.S. Navy. It was a time of uncertainty about what I was to face and just what the future held. Today I realize that it was one of the best decisions that I ever made.

When you first leave home and join the military you are faced with making many decisions on your own, carve out a niche of your own so to speak. The Navy was my life changing experience. My recruiter was Jesse Dix and the year was 1969. The military makes you grow up, it educates you, provides you with the tools to succeed in life. That little push was just like a mama bird helping her young flee the nest.

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Military men and women hold a very special bond like no other. There is no other thing that instills a feeling of pride and love of country like seeing the red, white and blue proudly waving in the wind. Wars come and go, causalities grow, and the sacrifice of life is forever etched in the hearts and minds of the family and friends who have lost someone to war.

Those who return home continue to serve. It was instilled in them in the military. They serve as our doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, truck drivers, mayors, and council men and women. You see them everyday in life. They are a vital part of our community, the very thread that holds it all together.

We all hold different ideas and opinions, party affiliations, religious beliefs, yet we are all bonded together in our love of country and the ideals that make our country the greatest place on Earth. We have agreed to disagree on some things in life, but we stand united in our love of country and will stand united shoulder to shoulder in defending what makes our country unique.

The next time you pass someone, be it your doctor, lawyer, judge, professor, secretary, check-out clerk at the grocery store, or the one who services your vehicle, you may be seeing our citizen soldiers who still make as big an impact today in everyday life as they did when they were serving on the frontline. All different, each one unique.

Some did not make it back as they gave the ultimate sacrifice. Some returned to a place that they have grown to love and made it their home as did Jesse Dix, my recruiter who set me out on my journey some 43 years ago. Thank you veterans for you service.