When I was 17 I made the decision to join the military and to this day I clearly did not understand very well what I was getting into. There where a few things that motivated my enlistment and one of them was following in the steps of my Uncle Rey and both my Grandfathers who served in the military.
Following in My Uncle Rey’s and Grandfathers’ Footsteps
As a kid I use to dream of becoming a soldier especially since my uncle Rey had served in the military for a few decades. When he finally went to combat he was a Lt. Colónel and was the highest ranking Puerto Rico National Guard officer inside the combat theatre.
My uncle left shortly after his tour in Iraq where I guess he served around 34+ years in the National Guard. Once I saw he left it also kept me away from re-enlisting.\
Both my grandfathers also served in the military. My grandfather on my Dad’s side was thrown out of the military because he stood up the racism and unjust treatment Puerto Rican Soldiers received. To this day I admire the stance that my Grandfather Ignacio took. He was so hurt by the situation even when it was decided that he was entitled to veterans benefits given they had enough evidence to prove that how he was treated was unfair, it is my understanding he turned them away. I have tried to ask him about his service and it is a subject he steers clear from.
My Closest Friend and Brother in a Combat Zone Again
For the past 10 months I have tried to steer clear from getting any news on Afghanistan. My best friend and brother of another mother Alex Burgos was serving in a combat zone in Afghanistan (his second tour in Afghanistan). For me no news is good news, and I also was confident in Alex’s training as a soldier but more importantly an awesome leader and commitment for his team.
One thing I learned from Alex on this deployment was that he was in combat for the third time primarily to make sure his team and brothers in arms would come back safely. I congratulate Alex for doing an awesome job. But I would be lying if say I was not worried during the 9 months since I was on the list to be notified if anything happened to him.
The Combat Risks
We all step outside our doors and don’t know how much time we have on this earth. A soldier steps into the battlefield and knows there is a higher probability for them to get hurt or injured. I have soldiers who I served with who were injured in combat like Jose Rodriguez Soba who was injured in Combat, received the purple heart and I communicate with still on facebook. He is truly an example to follow such a positive attitude towards even after the struggles him and his family have gone through.
I’m glad all my friends that were recently in combat zones returned safely to their families especially Carlos Gonzalez (my buddy while in the military), Deb Hancock (was my Military Instructor now a good friend), Luis Diou (Long time Friend) and Luis Javier Ramos (our neighbor for the four years we lived in Coamo). I am sending positive vibes to my buddy Robert Delirah who is currently in Afghanistan and I am anxiously waiting for his safe return.
A Lesson from Veterans
During my time in the military I met veterans not only from the U.S. Army but from the many other countries we had an opportunity to train with.
One thing I learned from all of them was how War was cold and ugly. Combat veterans usually have scars that are not seeing and easily forgotten by those who don’t dig deep enough to understand them.
Let’s Do something for the Veteran’s
Today I see how there is a veteran’s day sale and how people commemorate them. But then all I have to do is quickly browse over to Mark Hovarth’s website and see that so many veterans are not only misunderstood but they are forgotten on the streets to fend off on their own.
You would have thought that in 2013 especially when the U.S. has been at war for over a decade veterans would be taken care off a bit better. But the reality is that there is still much to do.
Instead of complaining about what is still to be done I rather have you help me in donating even $5 to someone who helps veterans every day.
Stop by Invisiblepeople.tv and help my buddy Mark Hovarth to get those veterans who are still on the streets a roof over their head.
It’s great that you posted a picture, wrote a message, and congratulated our veterans but a small sacrifice for some of us can mean a whole deal to a veterans sleeping in the streets.
To my veteran friends and family Thank you for your service.
May all those Serving Return Back Safely.
May those that return get the support they need for the sacrifice they made.