I love the military. I‚Äôve often said that the two main reasons I would want to be President of the United States are Air Force One and the Marines. I love Marines, they make wonderful clients for me. They come in, I tell them what to do, and they do it.
Marines and Navy Seals are trained to be that way. Last month on my Men‚Äôs Family Law podcast I interviewed Mark Divine from¬†SealFit.com, who runs a private training program for Navy personnel who want to become Seals. It‚Äôs a 21-day intensive training program, that you have to be in top shape just to get into.
These are the type of people who go on to do the most amazing things that our military is capable of. Talking to Mark made me want to drop 50 pounds, get into shape, find the $7,000 it would take to do his course and be a total badass for the rest of my life.
Instead I went to Mexico where I was presenting a speech and relaxing with my friend Kelly. We had the opportunity to watch “Captain Phillips.”
We both loved the movie, it was beautifully written, fabulously shot, excellently acted, blah blah blah. However, it evoked two very different reactions in us. When it came to the role of the Navy and Special Ops, Kelly thought it was a good story but she‚Äôs a flaming liberal and a girl. The military element didn‚Äôt really move her.
For me, when the Navy becomes a character in the movie, my blood gets going. I can feel the adrenaline rise, heck I can feel it now as I am writing this article. The producers of movies are adept at taking emotions and upping them ‚Äî that‚Äôs their job. The emotions though have to be there in the first place.
As a man, when I see the might of the American military it evokes a visceral reaction. Maybe it‚Äôs because I went to school in Annapolis, Maryland across from the Naval Academy and I knew so many of those cadets. Maybe it‚Äôs because these are real world toys, and we all know about boys and our toys.
And yes, I realize these are not toys. At 100,000 long tons (2,240 pounds), a Nimitz class aircraft carrier is a behemoth of a ship. It‚Äôs a medium size city that moves. And, it is awesome. They launch and land fighter jets on them. Seriously, that‚Äôs just amazing to me. It is that type of ability and power that makes the little boy in me go “RAAAAAHHH.”
However, it takes real live human beings, at least for the moment, to run that ship, and complete the missions the president orders it to do. Living breathing people who have families, and who pay the price of long deployments and sometimes loss of limb or life to make sure that we can get 20 percent off of a new barbecue this weekend.
This being the weekend that, we as a nation, supposedly set aside to honor our veterans, fallen and living. The three day weekend, which has quickly expanded into a four day weekend for most of us, will be marked with parades, barbecues, bad speeches by boring politicians who will spout trite commentary about “the valued service our young men and women give to their country.”
I for one, find the majority of those speeches to be an abomination. I think they are needlessly self-serving, hypocritical claptrap that is insulting to the sacrifices that are made and the losses suffered.
No one needs to hear a congressman or city councilmember for that matter, prattle on about how much they respect the vets. Who doesn‚Äôt respect vets? That‚Äôs like saying I like oxygen and I want to honor it. It‚Äôs pointless.
What would matter would be if they provided for the vets the way they should. If we didn‚Äôt have a Veteran‚Äôs Affairs department that was hideously underfunded, poorly managed and forgot its primary purpose.
What would be of benefit to tomorrow‚Äôs vets would be if the people in charge thought twice about going to war (or “police actions”) and whether or not it was really necessary to create more vets with mental health issues, amputations and flag draped coffins for family to cry over.
This year for Memorial Day, honor a vet truly. Find one and buy them dinner. Donate to¬†WoundedWarriorProject.com¬†to help someone get their life back. Drop a donation to¬†Pets-for-Vets.com¬†who help veterans by pairing them with rescue dogs. Foster a dog while its owner is on a long deployment by going to¬†DogsOnDeployment.org¬†and signing up, or at least giving a donation equal to a new barbecue ‚Äî you can make do with last year‚Äôs ‚Äî trust me, you‚Äôll feel better if you do.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father‚Äôs and Men‚Äôs Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.¬† He welcomes your questions and comments.¬† He can be reached at¬†firstname.lastname@example.org¬†or (310) 664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra