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Know Jack #433 What’s That You Say?

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States…”


So, a popular saying goes. The fact that it is completely false seems to matter very little…unless we want to qualify the statement to say the check was just a loan. That qualification does not negate the giving or service of those men and women. It does, however, make it less altruistic and more utilitarian. It was not a gift given with no expectation of reciprocity.


Now I don’t begrudge anyone who expected Sam to feed, shelter, train, and pay. them in return for their service. That was part of the bargain. In return, many did things they don’t talk about—things they will never be rid of. Sadly, others died. That too was part of the bargain.


It troubles me, though it probably should not, that the ones who made the bargain of their own free will should now greedily try to twist the terms to their own ends. Lest I offend unnecessarily, I will use myself as the villain in an example of what I’m talking about.


I was an aircraft mechanic for seven years. I was never shot at and glad of it. I did do some shaky things that could have gotten me, and a bunch of other folks blown to bits—because, well, the job had to be done and it was on me. Thank God the big boom never happened just a lot of whining jet engines over the years. Now, I don’t hear so well, and no, it’s not selective.


In light of our opening statement, should I expect Sam to pay me for the rest of my life for that hearing loss? I made the deal. That deal included doing stuff that might get me blown up. Is loss of hearing worse than dying? I don’t think so. I’ve had a pretty good life since parting company with my Uncle. But I agreed to die if need be.


It’s true that I was just seventeen, invincible, and not planning on ever being a seventy-year-old man who has trouble hearing when I struck that deal. But is my neglect to consider everything that might happen grounds for going back on the bargain?


If so, I’d do well to reconsider my opposition to Sam forgiving student debt. So would those listening to the lawyers flooding social media with promises of making the government pay for every ill a veteran might experience. I guess it all depends on the repayment each person feels they are entitled to for their loan. Thinking the government owes me anything more for my service is one of the many things for which I have repented.

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