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Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 01:39 PM
Today is Veterans Day in the U.S.A. and I'd like to recognize one of my Aikido students. In fact he is the only student that I have every awarded a Dan rank to. I guess I won't use his name here since I didn't ask him about this, but let me tell you about him anyway . . . he is an Aikido sensei so I guess I'll call him "Sensei V" (for Veteran)

Sensei V started out in the Air-Force quickly rising to the rank of Sergeant. (I'll get the ranks all wrong in this story BTW because I am NOT a Vet!). From there, being young and eager he decided to tryout for the Air Force's Special Operations. He had made it through the "pipeline" when his wife (also a Veteran BTW) found out that she was pregnant with their first child. Sensei V made the difficult decision to not go into the Air Force Special Operations since it would adversely affect his ability to be a good father to his son. (The job isn't exactly family friendly.)

Somewhere in this time frame he came and visited my dojo (he had already trained in other martial arts for about over a decade) and decided that when he was out of the Air Force he would join. When he was discharged he came to my dojo and I welcomed him, but I happened to close my dojo the very next day. He called me several times and finally one year to the day I had shut my dojo, I received a letter from his wife begging me to take him as a student before she went crazy (apparently she thought he already was there.) I got permission from my wife and began my relationship with this remarkable man.

Years went by and Sensei X, became the first person in his family to graduate from college earning a Bachelor's degree in nursing. At the same time, it turns out, he was finishing his day to day training with me, because shortly after earning his degree and Dan ranking he moved to a town about 5.5 hours away.

He worked at a hospital and reenlisted in the Air Force Reserves. Then he signed up for a tour of duty in Iraq during one of the heights of that war. Sensei X returned home safely, but not without being affected by the number of young men that he flew to Germany whose lives would never be the same.

This summer Sensei X visited and shared with me that he would try to sign on with a Special Operations unit again. He said that this would probably be his last chance since he is getting a bit to old.

A mutual friend (also a student) just told me Sensei X will be headed to Iraq again soon.

My selfish emotions want to say, "Dumb Ass! What are you thinking?" But my sad heart says, "Thank God there are men like Sensei X that volunteer be there when our sons and daughters need them most!"

We dojo rats kid around saying, "If I woke up and saw Sensei X standing over me I'd know I just landed in Hell!" But the truth is, If I was in trouble he'd be someone I'd want by my side. And the best part is, I know he'll be there if he can.

You have my deepest appreciation and respect!

Love,
Allen

aikishihan
11-11-2011, 04:07 PM
Hello Allen,

Thank you for sharing your special Veteran with the rest of us. Others may have similar attributions to make, but it is special for you to do so on this day. After all, you too are a Veteran, of Aiki!

gregstec
11-11-2011, 07:09 PM
Nice post Allen,

As a veteran (my military carrier spanned from 1971 to 2002 with a combination of active and reserve time) I appreciate the acknowledgment of those that can see that it is the dedicated service of the truly nondescript military person that counts - too many times the focus is on those that are viewed as hero's because of some valiant episode; often ending in tragedy. Well, the reality of it is that ALL service members whether in combat or a supportive role are part of team and it is the team that makes the difference, not the individual - but as individuals, we are all proud to be part of the team and continue to perform our duties as trained regardless of fame, and definitely not any fortune : )

I just wish there was more recognition and awareness like yours during our Vietnam days - home comings were not all that friendly back then :(

Best

Greg

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 08:04 PM
Nice post Allen,

As a veteran (my military carrier spanned from 1971 to 2002 with a combination of active and reserve time) I appreciate the acknowledgment of those that can see that it is the dedicated service of the truly nondescript military person that counts - too many times the focus is on those that are viewed as hero's because of some valiant episode; often ending in tragedy. Well, the reality of it is that ALL service members whether in combat or a supportive role are part of team and it is the team that makes the difference, not the individual - but as individuals, we are all proud to be part of the team and continue to perform our duties as trained regardless of fame, and definitely not any fortune : )

I just wish there was more recognition and awareness like yours during our Vietnam days - home comings were not all that friendly back then :(

Best

Greg

Yes, being of that era and having had friends spat upon with no knowledge or appreciation for "their story" I am rather guarded against extremists of all sorts. (Hawks, Doves, Turkeys, etc.) They tend to make the same mistakes, again, and again, and . . . . so it goes.

Allen Beebe
11-11-2011, 08:24 PM
It occurs to me that all Veterans entered into an agreement of one sort or another to serve. What they serve, in a democracy, is largely determined by us, "We the people." Their purpose, mission and lives are in our hands. Their successes, failures and blood are OUR responsibility. When we divest ourselves from our civic duties such as electing representatives who truly, faithfully, and accurately represent our will and work for our greater good, either due to laziness or disenchantment,we are literally abandoning "ourselves" along with those that swear to protect us. This is a tremendous responsibility and the greater the power of a nation the greater the responsibility of its people.

I suspect that a nation with the will to bear such a responsibility will be remembered as a "great nation" and any nation without such a will, will not very long be remembered.

gregstec
11-11-2011, 09:44 PM
Yes, being of that era and having had friends spat upon with no knowledge or appreciation for "their story" I am rather guarded against extremists of all sorts. (Hawks, Doves, Turkeys, etc.) They tend to make the same mistakes, again, and again, and . . . . so it goes.

I like turkeys - especially around this time of year :)

Greg

gregstec
11-11-2011, 09:49 PM
It occurs to me that all Veterans entered into an agreement of one sort or another to serve. What they serve, in a democracy, is largely determined by us, "We the people." Their purpose, mission and lives are in our hands. Their successes, failures and blood are OUR responsibility. When we divest ourselves from our civic duties such as electing representatives who truly, faithfully, and accurately represent our will and work for our greater good, either due to laziness or disenchantment,we are literally abandoning "ourselves" along with those that swear to protect us. This is a tremendous responsibility and the greater the power of a nation the greater the responsibility of its people.

I suspect that a nation with the will to bear such a responsibility will be remembered as a "great nation" and any nation without such a will, will not very long be remembered.[

Well, we are starting to fade - take a look at Senator McCain's latest recommendation to reduce and take away current military retirement benefits :disgust:

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/10/military-mccain-eyes-barring-retirees-from-tricare-prime-102511/

Greg

MM
11-11-2011, 10:22 PM
A major point. The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. It is not, nor has it ever been, a Democracy. It is a relatively recent societal (and a wrong one) push to try to get people to accept America as a Democracy.

A true Democracy is ruled by the majority of the people. In a Democracy, 51% of the people can vote to kill the other 49% and it would be legal. Not moral, not right, but legal by Democracy. The Founders created a Constitutional Republic to protect the Rights of people and to limit the Powers of government.

People should change their thinking to view America as a Constitutional Republic. As a child, it was gone over every day in school.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

As a veteran, we swore this oath:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

As a veteran, a Constitutional Republic, our United States of America, was worth fighting for, worth dying for. A Democracy isn't.

Allen Beebe
11-12-2011, 12:12 AM
Important point. Funny, I just went over all of that with my class just last week in conjunction with reviewing the history and meaning of the pledge of allegiance (which has an interesting history BTW.)

My original thought is still valid though. It is incumbent upon the citizens of the United States to elect leadership that bears true faith and allegiance to the ideals espoused and supported by the Constitution of the United States.

When the citizens of a Republic default on their primary responsibility (a responsibility first seen as a privilege) the Republic by definition begins to fail. A power gap is formed and since nature abhors a vacuum, the gap is filled, but not by the citizens and the Republic is a Republic in name only. If there is a violation of that Republic's Constitution there will only be consequences for that if the majority of power still rests in the hands of those NOT violating the Constitution and they are aware and still care.

Well, I'm thinking on my feet so I'll shut up now.

Bottom line: If one truly appreciates something they will be considerate and take care of it.

gregstec
11-12-2011, 11:25 AM
A major point. The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic. It is not, nor has it ever been, a Democracy. It is a relatively recent societal (and a wrong one) push to try to get people to accept America as a Democracy.

A true Democracy is ruled by the majority of the people. In a Democracy, 51% of the people can vote to kill the other 49% and it would be legal. Not moral, not right, but legal by Democracy. The Founders created a Constitutional Republic to protect the Rights of people and to limit the Powers of government.

People should change their thinking to view America as a Constitutional Republic. As a child, it was gone over every day in school.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

As a veteran, we swore this oath:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

As a veteran, a Constitutional Republic, our United States of America, was worth fighting for, worth dying for. A Democracy isn't.

So, what happens when that domestic enemy turns out to be the political body we elected to oversee our constitutional rights ? :hypno:

Greg