A letter from a Sailor,
My name is William Wilson. I don’t not call myself a former sailor. Because once a sailor, always a sailor. Today we show respect and honor to those that signed their names on the dotted line and said “I don’t know you. I may never get to know you. We may never be friends. I may never even meet you. But I promise to defend you with my life. I promise to lay my life on the line to protect you from enemies that may want to harm you. I do so knowing we may not agree politically. You may never invite you into your home because you hate me because of my race, my gender, my religion or my sexual orientation. All of these things may be true, but I will still die for you. I will die so you can live. I will lay down my life because you are worth it. I am a sailor, airman, soldier or marine. I will defend you . When look out into the ocean you may not see me, but I’m there. When you look into the sky, I will be there. When you look to the hills and valleys, I will be there. I will be there because that is where I need to be to keep you safe. And if I don’t make it back. Just honor my brothers and sisters that are still there protecting you. Pray for the one that took my fallen place. Pray for the next in line. I don’t need you to applaud me. Just respect me.”
As a proud former member of the United States Navy, I ask no special privileges. I don’t need parades. And though I appreciate them, I don’t even need thank you’s. I only ask of you one thing. Respect the sacrifice that myself and my brothers and sisters and were willing to make; even though we didn’t know you. Please don’t disrespect our actions and circumstances by calling athletes “warriors” and “soldiers”. Playing a game IS NOT even similar to going to war. There are no referees, clocks and time outs on the battlefield. After we accomplish our mission we don’t simulate ripping open our shirt to portray we’re Superman, kiss our biceps, spin our weapons like a top, or flex our muscles. We don’t do a celebratory dance on field of battle, because chances are one of our brothers or sisters we laughed with this morning didn’t make it to see the night. If we do our job exceptionally well, we do not renegotiate our contracts. We just thank God we may it through the day, and hope we can do it again tomorrow. We go to sleep and wake up everyday just wanting to go to sleep and wake up again tomorrow. And we hope to repeat the process until we finally get to go home. And when we get home, we just ask that you not forget the ones that are still there. And we ask that you don’t forget that though you may turn your nose up at Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, Christians, and Atheists when you see them in your neighborhood, they are also the ones fighting, shooting, crying and dying while you’re safely at home in bed.
So I just ask,as a military man, as a service man, as a NAVY MAN. Save the military euphemisms for those who earned it. Save it for the proud members of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard and the National Guards of all branches. And save it for the members of the Naval Academy, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and Coast Guard Academy. They are studying and counting down the days until they are in the air, in the field, or in the fleet.
Just respect them. Thank them. And remember them in your prayers.
Fair winds and following seas.