Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A veteran just told me to STFU...

Some time ago, I blogged about Alan Osmond and his time serving in the Army during the Vietnam era.  I also left a comment on the YouTube channel where the video that prompted that post was located.  Just today, many months after I left my comment, I got a response from an alleged veteran named David who left me a nastygram because I left a negative comment about Alan Osmond.  He basically wrote that he had 24 years "in" and asked me if I'd served.  Then, assuming I hadn't served, he told me to STFU.

What I don't understand is why "David" felt the need to tell me to shut up.  If he had any brains, he'd understand that my comment was in support of people like him, who allegedly did something useful for the military.  David claims he was in for 24 years.  He must have been doing something right.

If you watch Alan Osmond's video, which I linked in my first post about this, he basically flat out states that he joined the Army as a means of avoiding being drafted and sent into combat.  Then he brags about being "awesome" in training because he was a great dancer.  He says his dancing made him disiciplined and an expert marksman.  You'd think that if he were that great a fighter, the Army would have happily sent him to Vietnam.  But Alan Osmond never saw the jungles of Vietnam or dealt with the ravages of PTSD.  He stayed behind at Fort Ord and worked as a typist for a couple of years.  And now he's bragging about it.

My thinking, having been raised by a veteran who went to Vietnam and came home permanently fucked up, is that it's in poor taste for Alan Osmond to be bragging about what he did for the Army.  I'm grateful that he served and wasn't a draft dodger, but let's face it.  Had he not been an Osmond, he might have seen some real action.  He didn't see any real action, yet he's boasting very loudly about his service.  And he's basically saying that God had "bigger things in mind" for him.

What about all the other talented young people who went to Vietnam and never returned?  Or the ones who did return and were left irreparably damaged?  What about their families, who stood by helplessly as their loved ones dealt with suicidal ideation, alcoholism, drug addiction, or any number of injuries they sustained in combat?  What about people like my father, who were exposed to Agent Orange and paid for their exposure in their last years?  Thanks for typing for the Army, Alan, but that shit really pales in comparison for those who actually bled for the United States.  And I'll tell you something else, too.  Most of the veterans I've known who really did something do not brag about it.  Because the things people do to earn the most prestigious awards often mean that someone got hurt or killed.

Bill and I just got home after an afternoon in Stuttgart getting my dental crown installed.  It should have been a happy day, but then I saw that guy's comment...  and I wanted to respond but couldn't.  And then when I finally got home to my computer and could respond, realized that David's comment isn't even there anymore.  I guess the big strong 24 year veteran decided he didn't want me to answer him.  He must be afraid of articulate women.

If I could have responded to David, I'd tell him that I did, in fact, serve our country.  I wasn't in the military, but I was in the Peace Corps.  I took the very same oath that all people in government service take.  I didn't handle a weapon, but I did live in very austere conditions for very low pay and I did so in service to the United States and my host country.  I also grew up among many people like David.  I was raised by a career Air Force officer and many people in my family served.  I also grew up in one of the most military populated communities in the world.  I am now married to a man who spent 30 years serving in the Armed Forces.  I have a great deal of respect for the military and the people who volunteer to serve in it, but I don't have respect for people who use their time in the service as a means to belittle other people.

The most honorable veterans, in my opinion, are those who see their service as just that, a job they proudly did for their country.  I have a whole lot more respect for guys like Bill, who recognize and honor another person's right to their opinions.  I have never heard my husband talk to another person the way that "Mr. 24 years in so you can STFU" expressed himself to me.  Bill is wise enough to know that not everyone is suited for military service, but that doesn't mean they don't have a right to voice an opinion.

I recognize that Alan Osmond is a veteran.  So are a lot of people.  So are a lot of celebrities.  Most people who are veterans have more class than Alan Osmond does.  They have enough sense to understand that if you serve as a REMF in a time of war, you should probably count your lucky stars and, yes, please STFU if you feel you must brag about all you did.  Be grateful you survived your time in uniform and aren't permanently changed in a negative way.

As for David, I would like to say this...

"Thank you for your 24 years in the service.  I'm sorry you weren't able to give all for your country."

But, since he deleted his comment and I'm not actually that mean-spirited, I'll just say that it's people like him who make some people not affiliated with the military think that servicemembers are indoctrinated idiots.  Fortunately, I know better than that because I've met many veterans I'm proud to call friends and family.  And I'm glad that I don't have to spend time around a guy like David, who apparently doesn't realize that part of what makes the United States worth protecting is the right Americans have to speak their minds.

  

4 comments:

  1. I'm a bit fuzzy on this, but my impression was that other than basic training, Alan osmond was in the reserves. again, I could easily be wrong.

    As far as David is concerned, perhaps he doesn't remember that whether he approve or not, one of the purposes he served in his 24 years was to ensure that you and others would not have to STFU if you chose not to do so.

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    1. I really don't know. In his video, he implied that he was a clerk or something.

      And you're right that as a veteran, David should be open to freedom of speech. I have found that sometimes veterans forget about that, though. Especially when the person talking is a woman.

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  2. There are a lot of soldiers that are on the clerk side. Without them the military would not be able to survive. So you are basically saying unless you were in a combat unit you didn't serve. There are hundreds of thousands of soldiers that are in the offices as clerks. Doesn't make them any less important.

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  3. Hi Unknown,

    It looks like you may have completely missed the point of this post.

    I never said and don't believe that clerks who serve in the military are "unimportant". On the contrary, I have basic respect for anyone who serves, including Alan Osmond.

    My point is that Alan Osmond's comments about what he did during the Vietnam War are in poor taste. He admits that he only joined the Army because he didn't want to go on a Mormon mission. He felt that he would have more impact for his church if he stayed home and continued performing with his brothers. So he got a connection in the entertainment business to see to it that he could stay in California and be a clerk.

    Alan Osmond was never in any actual danger, but he brags about how "awesome" his military skills were. I would think that if his skills were so excellent, it would have been more honorable for him to use them in support of his country. But his attitude seems to be that he was too "special" to do that; his job was to be a pop star so that he could spread Mormonism to the masses.

    I am fully aware that there are many "cogs in the wheel" who serve in the military. Each and every one of them has the right to be proud of their service. However, I think bragging about being a typist during the Vietnam War era, especially as you imply that God had bigger plans for you to be a singing star, is very tacky. Moreover, there is a huge difference in simply being proud of one's service and blatantly bragging about it on YouTube.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with members of the military who serve in non-combat roles. My husband went to Iraq, but basically had a desk job. There is also nothing wrong with people in the military who never see combat, but perform important supporting roles back home. My issue with Alan Osmond is that it's inappropriate for him to boast about what he did during during the Vietnam War era when so many people, not lucky enough to have family connections, went off to war and either died or came home permanently changed for the worse.

    Clear enough?

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