America’s Veterans: What It Means To Be Part of the .45%

Updated: August 12, 2012

America’s Veterans: What It Means To Be Part of the .45%
by Ranger Up CEO Nick Palmisciano

Editor’s Note:  Ranger Up’s CEO Nick Palmisciano wrote this article back in August of 2012.  A lot has changed in the last five years, and given the current turmoil in our country we thought it was time to dust this piece off and help our fellow veterans remember what it means to be part of the .45%.


Hello America, my name is Nick Palmisciano and I wrote the essay below, not General David Petraeus, “A Marine in Iraq,” General Schwarzkopf, any of the wounded warriors it’s been attributed to, or anyone else.

The order of events went something like this:

1)      I was talking over with Tom Amenta, my COO, about how the world has changed over the years relative to military service.  We had the Occupy Movement as the backdrop.

2)      At the end of our conversation, I sat down and wrote this essay and posted it to Ranger Up.

3)      The US Army reposted it on their Facebook page, which was a huge honor for me.  It received tens of thousands of likes in a day.  They attributed the post to me at the bottom.  This was a huge honor for me as I felt I had addressed the feelings of many service members.  I write a lot, but I had never touched a chord with our community the way I had with this one.

4)      In the next few weeks and months I started receiving spam letters or seeing incorrect blog posts attributing this essay to various people.  The Ranger Up fans did such a great job of correcting people that I didn’t get involved.  Snopes even covered it.

5)      Now, there is an almost universal belief that General Petreaus wrote this.  It’s on blogs.  I’ve received many emails about how we “should post it.”

So I’m posting it, again, just like I did when I wrote it.

Thanks for all the support!

Nick Palmisciano

President, Ranger Up

The 0.45%


I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.

My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.

That same day two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: “Nick, you’re a smart guy. You don’t have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a tome defending West Pont and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years. In Vietnam, 4.3% served in 12 years. Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War on Terror. These are unbelievable statistics.

Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse. Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military. Taxes did not increase to pay for the war. War bonds were not sold. Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out of the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You.

You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand. And you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.

They don’t understand suffering. They don’t understand sacrifice. They don’t understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you’re a machine – like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one – not them. When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the “macro” issues they gathered from books with your bias. You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.

But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you’ve given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them. Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway. You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 – YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.

You are the 0.45%.

The .45% Men’s

The .45% Women’s

first published in August, 2012




  1. John

    August 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Great job Nick. I hate to see the wrong people get credit for other’s work.

    • Tom

      August 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm

      These are words that could not have been said better. I wanted to join the Army since i was 5. My reasons for wanting to join changed as i got older and understood the world better. I love my country no matter how messed up i think it may be at times and no matter who is the president, no matter the agenda i would fight for it. As Americans we have particular duties, as civilian or solider. A problem that i see all to common these day though is that a vast majority of the civilian population has forgotten that.

      When i originally joined the army i was a highschool drop out at 17 with a GED, since my exit of the army i have dreamed of nothing greater than going back and doing it right. I started going to school in April of 2011, something that as a younger man I would have scoffed at the very idea, but my love for this country has moved me to do everything that i could possibly do. I want to serve again as an army infantry officer and though i have been shot down again and again, I have not stopped looking for other options.

      This essay you have written only fuels my goals and encourages me to be everything i can for this country. Some people were borne to carry the burdens of a nation and it is clear you are one. That makes your words ring so true in my heart and i want to thank you for that.

      To conclude my rambling i would just like to thank you for this. I only with more people could read this and understand the truth behind the uniform. It is not just a way of life, it is life.

      • KIt

        August 5, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        I just wanted to thank you for your service. I don’t care how long you were in. I REALLY appreciate you. You are a hero in my eyes. God Bless you. I wish the gov. would treat you as such after you guys rotate back to the mainland. {{{HUGGGGSSS}}} to you and your family. They suffer while you are gone. Maybe it is a sign that you don’t go back. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. By the way my name is Kit.

      • KabulLegalChick

        August 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

        Dear Nick,

        Thank you so much for this. I’m serving in Kabul with USAID’s Office of Inspector General, about 1/2 way through my second year here. I also served in Iraq twice as a DoD, then DoS civilian. I have enjoyed working we numerous members of the military in both theatres. My son is a few weeks away from becoming part of the .45% as a member of the Army National Guard (soon to be attending OCS).

        Thank you for your service!!

    • Dee

      August 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      My son came home from Afghanistan today. He is still not here in our home but he is on American soil after 3 trips there and one to Haiti. It is people like the two of you who make me proud to be an American. I cried when I read this as I knew the statistics were off the wall but I didn’t realize till now just how little we selfish Americans actually give back to you who provide our basic rights to freedom just by serving. Thank You and Thank you for opening my eyes.

    • Erwin J. Davis

      August 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      You are the voice. Thanks Semper Fi 96-04

    • Tim

      August 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Maybe General Petreous should publicly recognize you as the writer of this great piece. I am certain he would want to have credit go to the man who deserves it.
      My service began with induction (draft) during the Vietnam conflict and ended in 2001 just before our invasion of Iraq. Most of it was as an Army Reservist and none involved combat. I have deepest respect for you and the other true heroes of our military.

      • James Rodgers, LTC, Infantry USA (Ret)

        August 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm

        P E T R A E U S = Great American

        He took over my battalion right after we got back from the Gulf. It was an honor to hand him my company guidon when it was my turn to depart. Great American, great general and a real comrade for anyone who ever served. He didn’t write this, he didn’t claim he did either. Someone might credit him just because he’s a brilliant man and a devout patriot. He is the .45% of the .45% who make it to O-10 and will ever hit the 40 year mark serving this great country.

        • Sam

          October 30, 2013 at 9:42 pm

          Thank you for your service!


    • Norma Golden

      August 7, 2012 at 8:57 am

      As a mother of a son who is now in Basic Training, this essay really hit home. It has always been my son’s dream to join the military, despite the flack he has gotten from family and friends. I could not be prouder of him; for following his dream, for ignoring the ignorance people spout about the military, and for being dedicated to the ideals of his country. He is my hero, as are all those who proudly and bravely serve this great country.

    • Name

      August 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Thanks for your dedication and service.

    • Les

      August 8, 2012 at 10:07 am

      3 tours—2 in Iraq, one in Afghanistan. They wont promote me again–so it’s almost time to retire. But I’m still here….I am the lone survivor.

    • kathy

      August 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

      awsome job nick.

    • Marilynn

      September 10, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      When I received the email gving credit to Gen. P. I just had to look it up.

      It is a great essay and I have let my friends know who actually wrote it – crdit due for a wonderful Marine.

    • 11BRAVO

      June 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm

      Well said my brother.
      To us and those like us.
      Holding the line.

  2. Mr Michael Anthony Allen

    August 5, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Wow Nick this is the second time I heard very similar words come at me. The year I retired, that last year I was still voluntaring to go back to EOR. I had a Senior NCO literally pull me into his office and told me to sit, be quite and listen. He said Mike you’ve made it. He asked me how many Airmen make it through basic or intial training, how many get kicked out before there enlistment is up? How many do 4 or even 8 and 10years and give up and quite? He then goes on how many times have you been married and how well do you know your children? The point is you’ve not only meet these timelines you’ve exceeded them and you’ve sacrificed almost everything. He also said how many shit holes have we stayed in and the conditions we put up with in Desert Shield/Storm, Kuwaiti Freedom, Global War on Terror. I was at Grand Forks AFB he said Mike how many times has it been -20 -30 degrees and I’m the one refueling aircraft changing tires, preflighting, postflight inspections. He said Mike most of the time I’m the only one he sees on the flight line. He said you’ve done it. You made it and done things no one else will do. So I do appreciate you voluntaring but no, now shut up and get back to work. What he said and now what you are saying Nick I can atest to thank you are all our commrads in arms for being the small pertage.

    • Tad Verret

      August 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Thank You.

  3. Bill Bennett

    August 5, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Nick… from one former Infantry Officer, and business owner, to another, I can say with all honesty that I wish all officers could be as driven, motivated, and inspiring as you are! You’ve got an awe-inspiring work-ethic, and feel for the realism of how things work. Combined with all that, you keep the pride in the country, the work, and the troops… while still maintaining a unique form of humility that knows that our sole purpose is “To protect and defend”.

    You’re good people, Palmisciano! You definitely epitomize the Infantry motto “Follow Me”. Perhaps one day, you can be back in a civic leadership position. I’ll definitely vote for you (and following current establishment… so will my dogs and cats!)

    VERY respectfully,
    Bill Bennett
    (fmr) 1Lt USA Infantry
    VP and BOO (Brains Of Operation), TopFuelCoffee

  4. Bill Hart

    August 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for this piece, and the re-posting Nick. I will re-post at the time of day that the social media outlets tell us we will maximize our exposure to the largest audience.

    As you know, I never served our country in uniform, but after reading Marcus Luttrell’s book, “Lone Survivor” several years ago, all of that changed for me. I had a glimpse (the Navy version) of the struggle, sacrifice and life you describe and I would never be the same. Always patriotic, I still had a huge gap in my understanding of what our service men and women experienced during their training and deployments. We are fortunate that there are books like Marcus’ and “Outlaw Platoon” by Sean Parnell as well as films like “Restrepo” to give us a glimpse of that reality while this wartime history is still being played out.

    To honor, serve and assist our veterans has become a passionate purpose of mine, and through charitable organizations and the book I am currently writing, I will effort to do all that I can – and hopefully influence others to act similarly – to make a difference here at home.

    In a country so often focused on what is due to us, I thank you for giving voice to those who simply serve.

  5. Sabrina Casanova Brown

    August 5, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for this – not sure what to call it – but I so agree. Years ago when my son was reaching the age of the draft I tried working with my Senators about a civil service. I think it’s wrong that half the population is told they have to sign up for a draft, but the other half doesn’t have any duty to the country. We all live here – we should all contribute. I never joined the military, I have major health issues, but I have one son that is finishing up his second deployment to Afghanistan, and another that will join the Marines as soon as he graduates.
    An arguement I had with the high school principle a couple years ago was because the said that the seniors had to pay to take the PSAT test and I said my son was going in the military and he wanted to argue with me. I told him, if you are requiring the PSAT and SAT, why don’t you require the ASVAB? that is a valid option for our students too….he huffed and puffed and walked away.
    I am proud to say that I’m married to a Veteran, and I have an active duty son, I hang my blue star flag proudly!
    I thank every service member I can, and I’m sure some thing I do it cuz it’s the “PC” thing to do, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
    Thank you for your service, and thank you for clarifying who wrote this.
    Sincerely, Sabrina Casanova Brown

  6. LTC Gross

    August 5, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Excellent essay and I remember when you first posted it.

  7. Mom Theresa

    August 5, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Thankfull your home,
    Proud of you,
    Keep speaking, writing your thoughts.
    God’s peace to you.

  8. Timothy Spangler

    August 5, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Hi Nick,
    I’m a war time vet who had served in the first gulf war. I was with the First Cav out of Ft. Hood. I just want to say thank you for your service from one vet to another. We are brothers who have shared the same tears, bled the same blood. We are the chosen warriors. Once again, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE! To hell with Obama and his comments about who built, or did what, YOU DID WHAT YOU HAD TO DO.

  9. Rosel Rodriguez Jr

    August 5, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Hey Nick

    I don’t know you but after reading this, I just wanted to shoot you a web site. There are a few organizations out there that do what Helpingahero.org do but none of them are 100% non-profit and all volunteer based. They build homes for wounded vets nation wide. I am a home recipient. You know a larger base group of soldiers, I don’t. The only problem Helping a hero has is that they pretty much work off of word of mouth and they just have trouble with soldiers accepting homes (I was the same way). If you know any wounded vets PTSD, burn victims, amputees, TBI, etc “wounded” could you spread the word. I know I didn’t join the military to be “paid back” but what these people do is amzing and straight from the heart.

  10. Nick Tucker

    August 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Nuff said. Any questions?

  11. dorris o'brien

    August 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    thanks for your service & all your brothers & sisters in arms. you know in your heart what you have done & therefore you have already won. sometimes rewards come late, but they are usually great. God Bless

  12. SPC Blakeway

    August 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I need to read this every now and then, just to remind myself why I get strange, hopeful and sometimes even angry looks in uniform. As only those who have served can sincerely understand and say, thank you for your service, Nick.

  13. Chris Whiteowl

    August 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Very well put Mr. Palmisciano. We hear how everyone supports the troops, but who represents us? When I returned home after the Army in late 2003, the VA in my area was pretty decent. I had heard horror stories from my father about waiting for hours after your scheduled appointment times and the lack of personable service. I encountered none of that. However in those early days there were very few veterans back, and we hadn’t been in Iraq very long. That changed around 2005. Since that time I witnessed a huge influx of war veterans seeking services from the VA. I feel the VA staff is floundering under the weight of so many returning vets, some with terrible injuries needing constant care. I do not make these statements to “beat up” on those who provide their time to help our warriors at the VA, but to say that the VA is very under-manned and is in need of volunteers and employees. If any institution deserves funding it is the Veteran’s Administration. If we can spend billions bailing out corrupt bankers we can spend a little more on those who keep us safe. RAKKASAN. C. Whiteowl, CIB, OEF I

  14. Name

    August 5, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Brilliant!!! Nick, you have written a brilliant piece! I served (as a civilian) in Iraq during the height of the surge, then Yemen for 2 years, then Afghanistan for a year. I have never stood shoulder to shoulder next to greater men and women than those in the US Military…the greatest honor, privilege and gift of both my personal and professional life. I found my brothers in these 3 theaters of war, my band of brothers. I’m grateful and forever honored. Peace.

  15. Michael

    August 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I am a Viet Nam veteran. I served aboard the USS Newell DER 322. I was 17 when I joined the Navy on a minority enlistment.
    I sat on the side of my ship with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarrette in the other and watched the carpet bombing from a distance so far that you couldn’t hear anything.
    I knew that men were fighting and dying at that moment and was glad I wasn’t one of them.
    I lost one of my best high school friends that was.
    I couldn’t adjust to life aboard a ship and I’ll never know how I would have done in the jungle.
    I got a UD for my misadventures. I learned to smoke pot at Pearl Harbor. Went UA, and acted like an idiot in general.
    If I had it to do over again, I think I would honor my oath better than I did.
    I was gung ho when I joined. I missed my high school commencement exercises because I was already in boot camp by then.
    After I got out, I was told to contact my senator to try to get my discharge changed because it had been given to me by an “impartial” review board made up of officers of the crew of 150 men aboard the USS Newell.
    I blew it off too long. By the time I did try to do something about it, I was told by the Dept. of the Navy that it had been too long.
    I watched President Carter pardon all the draft dodgers that went to Canada to escape the draft and wondered how those who didn’t even try to serve could get a pass while I didn’t.
    I have had a pretty good life in spite of the injustice of all that, but have never forgotton the sacrifices made by so many above and beyond that of mine.
    The difference between me and most Americans is that I know what my fellow service members had to endure.
    To all the Viet Nam vets still on this side of the grass, welcome home.

    • Jo Ann

      August 5, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Dear Michael, no matter HOW you served your country, it was Honorable and you deserve to be recognized for the fact that you did serve your Country.
      I remember the Draft Dodgers, so very well. They shamed their families, themselves and most of all THEIR COUNTRY. And it was President Gerald Ford who pardoned the Draft Dodgers, not Carter. President Ford did this right after Nixon left office and he took over as President. That Generation is what has been running this country, screwing it up, dishonoring America, drawing fat paychecks… For What? To benefit themselves. NOT serving the will of the American People. We have had more FREEDOM taken from us in the last 40 years, and it goes on today, still! This Generation shamed us during the Vietnam War, and they continue doing it today. But remember, it is NOT YOUR FAULT. You served your country, you did your job, you did not hide behind or run away from what you thought was right at the time. Thank you, belated tho it is. You came home to a country that did not appreciate you, nor the THOUSANDS that gave their lives to serve their Country in the best way they knew how. It was a very different war and time in our Nation’s history. Those who rebelled against the War and their Country, put this Country to shame. It has never been the same since. Vietnam and since, our Wars have been about money and greed by our serving Politicians in Washington, DC. NOT about securing our Freedom, or stopping Terrorism in our Country or the World. The ONY THING that Barack Obama has done to give this country a feeling of Pride, was eleminate Osama Bin Ladan-PERMANENTLY. This should have been done many years ago, as he threatened our Country and the World long before his vicious attack on America. If so, “just maybe” 911 would not have happened. Our Government knew the threat he purposed to this country, but chose to play games, not do their SWORN DUTIES to protect this Country and its Citizens. Too much money to be gained by the Government and Big companies, at the sacrafice of so many American Lives.

      Nick, I commend you for telling it like it is. TRUTH is always the best policy. What the Politicians in Washington, DC fails to do for our Veterans is dishonorable, shameful, indecent and thankless. They serve only themselves. The American People are so disconnected with the TRUTH and reality of what our Service Men and Women do. Only those who have family serving either in Iraq or Afganistan can feel or know the sacrafice our Service men and women are doing every minute, of every hour, to fulfill their call to Arms in serving our Country. Whether the American Citizens agree with it or not, or even care!.

      Thank you for your sacrafices, those who you knew and lost, or permanently physically and mentally damaged. God knows who they are. Remember this in your years ahead of you.

      I currently have my oldest Grandson serving in Afganistan, is either his 3rd or 4th term over there. I am proud of him and all he is doing. I just pray that he gets home safe and sound. The same pertains to ALL OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN, I am proud of them. But Want them HOME safe and sound, back with their families where they belong.


      “GOD BLESS OUR MILITARY, WHERE EVER THEY MAY BE”, Doing their best to fight a war, for all the wrong reasons, yet giving their all, for all the right reasons.

      I STAND PROUDLY FOR EACH AND EVERYONE OF THEM. God be with you always.

  16. Norma Wright

    August 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    First I want to say thank you for your service. I understand where you are coming from. I served six years in the US Army. Since my enlistment contract has ended I have recieved those looks you talk about and it is disheartening. But I also have had many people who know of my service to this nation come up to me and tell me thank you. Yea the looks are horrible to go through and sometimes it does bother me but there is a pride that comes from within that no look can take away from a veteran or a soldier. We do what few others are willing to do.

  17. SFC (Ret) Paul Davis

    August 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I think this is even more meaningful coming from you rather than a General. Excellent essay and I am still proud to be among the 0.45 percent!

  18. SFC (Ret) Paul Davis

    August 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I think this is even more meaningful coming from you rather than a General. Excellent essay and I am still proud to be among the 0.45 !!!

  19. Jean Fritz

    August 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Nick, Frist let my Husband and myself thank you for your service…I know too well of what you speak…My Husband Don is a Vietnam Veteran…He did 3 tours as a Medivac and saw unthinkable suffering…He retired after 23 years in the Marien Corp…For most of those 23 years he had horrible nightmares and would scream out at night…Horrible screams…After 2 years of being retired he was finally diagnosed with extreme PTSD…Finally, he got help…I was so angry for so long about his nightmares and no one was doing anything…He never complained…You would never hear him say a bad word about his Marine Corp…He is a proud Marine and I am a proud Marine’s wife…Again thank you for you service and for this post…

  20. Ken

    August 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You guys need to make .45% shirts. I would love to buy one. One of the greatest essay’s I’ve read in a long time. Thank you.

  21. John R. Moritz

    August 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm


  22. Michael Riley

    August 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Nick, thank you for writing this. Thank you for reposting. Thank you for your service.
    The war on terrorism started after the 9-11 attacks on our country.
    Many have chosen to forget or diminish the issues that happened that day. Many believe we are invincible. Many have no idea what price has been paid to protect America from coming under the same type of attack.
    When is the last time we saw in depth media coverage on the ongoing efforts and the ongoing losses?
    We must do more for our veterans !
    It sickens me to know the amount of money spent on raising money for elections and yet we don’t have the concern nor the facilities to help these “ex government employees”, Yet our officials have totally free health care with little to no investment in this country.
    I only hope things will change with this election.
    But reality is……….

  23. jesse hull

    August 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    good shit sir.i didnt think anything could make me more proud to serve my country.

  24. James C Lochridge

    August 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Well said not enough people understand all that is sacrificed by the men and women of the armed forces no matter which nation they fight for. And a small thanks from a Brit for the quote by Winston Churchill at the end.

  25. Joseph Doby

    August 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    As an active duty service member this sums up everything that I have felt and wanted to say for so long but didn’t know how to put it into words. Our public school system pushes kids to college in lieu of the military for all the wrong reasons such as funding for the school and politics. This is also why there is a sense of entitlement from recent college graduates. Their teachers told them that if they went to college that it would guarantee success. Reality is that many of them get out of college 80 to 120 thousand dollars in debt and then can’t find a job after graduating. I saw it for years as a recruiter and it makes me sick to my stomach. I am glad you followed your gut and your conviction. Thanks for your essay; it was a great read.

  26. Warrior Poet

    August 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Great stuff and great words.

  27. John Schmidt

    August 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Awesome Nick, and Thank You!

  28. Tony Anderson

    August 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Great essay, I agree 100%. I do want to point out the irony of the click ads running next to the essay. In the essay you decry reality shows that only show violent PTSD cases, and average Americans who look at us like we are slightly rotten or misguided. Yet the top ad on my view was for a t-shirt that says “I may look calm, but in my head I’ve killed you three times” and lower down was one that says “I survive entirely on caffeine and hate”. Just sayen’…

  29. John Jolley (3rd PLT, 2nd BN, early 90's

    August 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Damn well said. Period. RLTW.

    • Bill Gipson

      August 6, 2012 at 10:29 am

      There’s no end to what you can accomplish, if you don’t care who gets the credit! GREAT JOB, and GOD BLESS !!!

  30. Chris

    August 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I felt that same feeling in my gut the second time reading it, the same as when you first posted. You guys are truly awesome

  31. Jimmy Davis

    August 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Mr. Palmisciano,
    Thank you for your sacrifices. The essay was spot on with the military branches and those such as myself who place ourselves in harms way to serve you guys while you serve. People asking “Why are you doing that?” “you need to be here at home”. They’re so many American’s that just don’t get it. I hope you don’t mind but I’m passing this along myself to the people in my circle. Currently deployed away from my family to the middle east hope to help those back home to GET IT. Again thank you so much for all you’ve done. I GET IT.


  32. Byron Maclean

    August 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Hey Nick,

    Just read your post and I have to say, thanks for saying what is on every soldiers mind. Even though I did not serve in the US Military, I did however served 10 years in the Canadian Military. I was in the infantry and done 3 deployments to Afghanistan, often working beside you folks from all trades. We shared in the losses and we shared in the triumphs. After speaking with many US infantry, things are not all different from our 2 military’s as far as the soldier is concerned and we all often spoke about the same things that pissed us off but one thing we all maintained is our love for our country. In my opinion it takes a soldier to write this sort of thing and I want to say thanks for speaking on the behalf of all infantryman.

    Right now I don’t serve, I left but still serve my country from within by policing the streets. War is politically driven and all I want to do is protect. What better way then doing it from within my country borders.

    Cheers Nick

  33. Barry Cooper

    August 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    I’m not a veteran, and don’t have the faintest idea what you went through, although I can well imagine the strains on families of repeated deployments.

    All I wanted to say is that I have consistently found it amazing how liberating the truth can be. Sometimes the truth is that you are in a full-on shitstorm, and it is not likely to get better.

    Yet, for good people, hearing that can be healing. We all have a tendency to want to believe the best, to think we must be misunderstanding, to think that what we see can’t possibly be true. It can’t be like that. Impossible.

    Then somebody comes along and says “yes, it can and is. Deal with it. It’s on you.” That person is very valuable.

    For my part, I think it is appalling how poorly we are dealing with PTSD. We put people in shitholes, then expect them to be blooming marigolds and rainbows when they get home. That is not sound strategy.

    Anyway, best of luck, and thanks for leading the way in something that needed saying.

  34. SFC (Ret) DJ Buschman

    August 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Well written and your thoughts are spot on! I served 22 years as an infantry soldier and after reading your essay and many of the comments I felt I need to say a few words as well.
    Never that I can recall when the citizenry of this country had it sooo good until recently. While us %.45 were serving, sacrificing and being shot at there were many who wouldn’t even think about joining our ranks. I am not going to bad mouth them, however, the few that I have come across have NO right to say anything to us except maybe a nod or thank you.
    It seems that many will never know how good they have it, yet they are some of the first ones to complain about their job, not realizing that there are many who can’t find work or those who are in harms way are doing so on their behalf.
    I am forever grateful for those for whom I have served with, even the few knuckleheads. I am grateful for God, my family, my country and my good fortune to have survived all that without being hit by bullets, shrapnel and other hazards that never occured. Because of my good fortune I’ll always look at the glass half full verses half empty.
    Thanks for a great read and for all of y’all’s service!
    Thunder 7
    3-21 Infantry Gimlets, 1-25 Stryker Brigade.
    OIF, Mosul, Iraq 2004-2005

  35. Sharen Skylar

    August 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I have read this a few times and it still gives me chills. Nearly all of my friends are military, both active and prior. I was all set to go into Air Force but I missed my window regarding age and now I’m just too old. But I do what I can to support my beloved troops from home. I have several adopted soldiers and friends serving in the war zone that I send care packages to regularly. Your essay is a breath of fresh air but sadly it too accurate and that is very sad. I wish it wasn’t true. If we don’t have a solid military base in my opinion this country is done for. Very excellent job, Nick.

  36. Cait Needham

    August 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for your service and thank you for writing something that is truth.
    I proudly hang a Gold Star flag in my front window, and as much as I dislike the circumstance that it is there, I’d do it all again because that’s what my husband would have wanted!

  37. Karen Eggers

    August 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm


    Thank you for posting this it brought tears to my eyes. I have owned the shirt that ranger up created listing the amount of population that served. I wear it with pride. Only those who have given up so much, and done so much for so little will ever understand.

    Karen M. Eggers
    USN Retired

  38. Suzanne Novak

    August 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Mr. Palmisciano,

    Thank you for your service and for your perspective!

    My father was a WWII Vet and when he passed away last year at 87 we buried him at Arlington Cemetery. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of his death. We buried him in October. I am still not sure what took so long but I can tell you I have never felt so proud of my dad and our country, along with all of those that served before and after him as I did at that moment when TAPS were played and we looked out over Arlington Cemetery and all of the tombs of the many many soldiers that served as my dad did.

    I hope you know there are some of us that are so very proud of all of you, even when we are not in a position to serve ourselves! May God Bless You and God Bless America!

  39. Lois Ross

    August 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Hello Nick. Thank you for your service to our country. I’m glad you took credit for your essay. That is the right thing to do. If the others to whom it was accredited to saw the mistake about who was the author, they should have corrected it as well. Thank you for sharing. My late husband served on the Ticonderoga CVA 14. He was lucky enough to get a great job as soon as he was out of the service, but not everyone we knew was that fortunate. In my opinion, all our returning veterans deserve much more support and respect than they are sometimes given.

  40. Casey

    August 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    The world is full of plagarists. Kind of reminds me of the “Gun Is Civilization” essay written by Marlo Kloos that some douche bag named Maj. L Caudilll passed off as his own work in a Frontsight Academy brochure.



  41. Dr. Ronald Shultz

    August 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I enlisted during Nam and retired shortly after Desert Storm I. I volunteered to go back when we went to Afghanistan and got a thank you and certificate. I did so again when we went to Iraq, Round Two and did not get an answer. I am 60 next month, but would go now if they would take me. You did well in your article and thank you for all you have done!

    Proud to be part of the 4.3 and would be glad to be part of the .45!

  42. Mike A

    August 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    There is a serious disconnect happening in this country to the point where veterans are started to be isolated in a warrior caste. Overseas I lost friends, lost relationships, and lost abilities from my body because of it. Came home I was jumpy at anything that went bang for well over a year, in and out of hospitals for medical problems. The only other people who can relate are people who have been there, did that, and got the T-shirt. You can’t sell some grey haired shrink wearing crocs who has never put on a uniform in their life that you are afraid to go outside without a weapon or you drink to forget. So we just smile and say “No I’m fine” to get out of the office.

    • Bluetiger

      August 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

      Mike A: You’re spot on, but the disconnect has been happening for a very long time. On the way home from “in-country” in 1970, I had to travel through San Fran Int’l airport. Some disconnected folks spat on my uniform and used some rude language. I was angry then, but evolved to just pity them because they didn’t (and still don’t) know the grace and dignity, even nobility, to be found in service – military or otherwise – to something bigger than yourself. Besides, I was happy to get home and meet my new son who was born while I was gone. It took a while for my wife to be able to wake me by shaking me without some risk, and 40+ years later, I still have to spend a couple days a year in bed ’till things realign and I can walk normally, but if asked, I’d go again.

  43. Raymond J Hindle, SMSgt (Ret) USAF

    August 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Well said, Sir! I’m 100 % in agreement and proud of all you guys and gals who have served. I am fortunate to be from a family in which every generation has had members serve in the US Armed Forces. I can only encourage my grandkids to follow suit! Pass on the Pride!

  44. SGT Scott Bilancia

    August 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you. No one cares any more. During Roman times, you weren’t even a citizen without serving in the military. People need to open their eyes. Thanks again for this essay. You are a great American.

  45. Mark Keller

    August 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    This hit me pretty hard, I served in the first gulf war and in Iraq freedom. I was medically retired after 17.5 years of service. I can relate to your essay and I am proud to be part of the retired .45.

  46. DK

    August 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Well said. I continually find some comfort in the veterans and retired service members that I meet periodically and at random throughout my life. A realtor, the middle aged gent at the bar who buys the young guys in uniform a round, and even a former high school teacher. They are truly all around us.

    I am often humbled when a veteran from an older generation thanks me for my service. My contribution is so much less than theirs. A sincere, “Thank you for yours,” is the best I can return.

    I take some pride in knowing that the average person’s ignorance to our hard work is possible because we sacrifice to defend our nation’s interests all around the world, every moment of every day. Often, even our extended families are ignorant.

    It’s the thought of this same hard work and sacrifice made by my compatriots that renews me and has kept me serving with gratitude.

    Bravo Zulu.

    LT, USN

  47. Lonny Hokanson

    August 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I do not want the wrong people to get the wrong cridet, of the military services did for our country because they did the sacrifices that no one would do their self’s the military military men and woman in our military right now and before should be given the right cridet they desserve right now.

  48. Vp

    August 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    We know sacrifice. We are proud of our fighting force. We are honored to have YOU to protect us, serve us, and die for us! However, we have also sacrificed, we have also lived through war! We will always fight in the global war on terror! Just because we are not over seas or in the military does not mean we do not know war! Thank you for my freedom, but your families are kept safe by those who are at home fighting, maybe a different style, but still fighting. We may not be able or allowed to go where you go but we, as Americans, ALL fight! God bless our fighting few! YOU are loved!!!!

  49. SFC McLain

    August 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you sir. That was very well said.

  50. Shana

    August 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    It’s hard to find the words to say that despite the fact that I am not military, your words rang so true to me and only reinforce to me why we must all do our part to honor the huge sacrifice men and women make daily in order to serve our wonderful country.

    Thank you for clearing that up, and thank you… for your service!

  51. Hooah. RLTW.

  52. Houston

    August 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I am honored to serve my country. HONORED and obligated. I owe it to this great nation to offer my time and if need be- my life in her defense. I do not seek high praise from a society so self involved and entitled, nor will I be marginalized by those who put no skin in the game. I am not a hero- I would consider my heroes to be in places like Arlington and hundreds of Warrior Memorials throughout the world.
    I sat through those classes after my tour in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. I sat there quietly furious at the highly opinionated 18 year old as they regurgitated what they had been told by their outspoken but mistaken mentors. I do not want war. I want to be released from duty for a lack of conflict. But I will not sit out an watch the world that my children will one day inherit get worse.
    Thomas Paine once said: “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

  53. SK Sue Taylor Hasse

    August 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Hello Nick. Our son, Sgt. Donald J Hasse, US ARMY KIA Nov 29, 2005. I served in the Navy for 8 years. My husband served for 22 years in the Air Force with 4 tours in Vietnam…..Yes, we have sacrificed. Do you mind if I post this article on my Facebook page……….I won’t do that until you say it’s ok. But, be assured that you are the one that will get the credits for your Writings. I am a Gold Star Mom and Veteran of the Armed Services. Our government has let our soldiers down…they give alitle then take it away. I believe that a soldier should have the same benefits of salary, Medical Insurance and Retirement with the Benefits that are offered by the VA, that any political office holder, including the President of the United States of America. Its time that we Stand Up and Be Counted….Thank you for your service and Thank you for your Words…Sue

  54. Ralph Barkley

    August 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Sir: I am thanking you for your service and for your wonderful essay. I am a Navy veteran of Viet Nam, a hospital corpsman that served at a Naval Hospital and aboard the USS BON HOMME RICHARD, CVA 31. It is my opinion that every citizen of this country do at least 2 years in the military and they would have their choice of branches. That way they will understand the trials and tribulations that one must endure as a member of the armed forces and maybe just maybe they will have a greater appreciation for the country they live in. Thank you and may GOD BLESS YOU.

  55. Kathleen Hughes

    August 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Nick – and all military personnel.

    Thank you for posting this. As a teacher with a history background (second generation), and as one who teaches English part time – this style if writing is very important to me. Not only is it informative for the history research I constantly look for, but it also adds to my resources when I provide writing samples or research information for my students, many of whom are aiming for the military themselves.
    If I may – Nick, please continue to write as the boots on the ground front line details need to be known.

    Thank you for your service and for sharing.

    Kathleen Hughes

  56. Anthony Anderson

    August 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    So how about since you posted this, the inbox in stolen valor has been filling up with people asking..”did he actually write this?” lol

  57. USA1960 - 1964

    August 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks NICK for re-posting.
    Your statement, “Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans and with only one person having a child in the military.” really rang a bell with me! You see, I have been very puzzled as to why several of my own Uncles, Aunts & Cousins, some my age and younger, have turned into bleeding heart liberals lacking even common sense. They certainly were not raised that way. We were all a very close family & had similar great positive life experiences. BUT the one thing that is a common denominator is the “lack of Military experience” by their parents, themselves, their children and their grandchildren. In addition, three quarters of them are “educators” in public schools, colleges or universities.
    Nick, Thank you for shedding some light on this puzzling mystery for me.

  58. Julia

    August 5, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Your words are so true!! I stand up for our military. Nothing akes me so mad and hurt when I hear or see someone desrespect our me and woman of The Armed Forces. I’m proud to be an AMERICAN THE LAND OF THE FREE HOME OF THE BRAVE.. THANK YOU ALL WHO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM AND KEEP US OUT OF HARMS WAY I SALUTE YOU,,MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL KEEP YOU

  59. Amanda

    August 5, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I can definitely relate to what you went through when you got accepted to West Point. I had many people assuming that certain people were pressuring me into joining the Navy or telling me that I should just go to college. While college education was a perk to joining, it wasn’t the reason that I joined.

    I joined the Navy to serve my country, to see the world, and to do my part (no matter how small it may have been). I knew going in that I did not want to be boots on the ground and that the Navy would be it for me. I knew it from the moment that I saw the “Accelerate Your Life” commercial in the early 2000s. I saw the final checker standing on deck and said to myself and to my friends that I would be doing that. And guess what, I did. Not many people have known how teary eyed that I became after launching my first jet when I finally earned my final checker qualification.

    So many people inspired me to keep pushing forward. I kept pictures of my best friends on the wall in my rack for those days when I had trouble remembering what I was fighting for. Those same people told me that they didn’t understand why they inspired me to keep pushing on and that I “shouldn’t use them as an excuse”. Words like that hurt because it showed me how little that they understood.

    Military members sacrifice so much during our careers. When we come home to hear things like the above being said after spending 7 months on deployment or three years at an overseas installation, it starts to wear on you and your morale. All we can do is push forward and know that not everyone is that way, and that we did do something while others did nothing.

    Thank you for re-posting this as I don’t think I would have seen it otherwise. Also, thank you for your service.

  60. Kim Starling

    August 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Sir, I totally agree with your statement!!!! The day after I returned from basic training and AIT I went shopping with my mom in the only thing I could wear, my uniform. That day a lady told me something I never thought I would ever hear. She told me that I waisted my life. I was a 25 year old MP, and I was told that I had waisted my life. I was so shocked! We as American Military do more and risk more than any civilian could understand. Thank you for your fellow service my brother in arms and to anyone who sees this that has served! Thank you to all that actually support us and the RED WHITE AND BLUE!

  61. SC

    August 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I wanted to join the Air Force when I was a teenager and young adult. My parents kepy insisting that it was no place for a “girl”. And I let them talk me out of it. When I tried later I found I was “too old” to join, even with a college degree. As time has gone by, I keep seeing the maximum age get raised, but it is raised to just under my age, over and over again.

    Not being in the military has been one of the biggest regrets of my life for years. But now, I am going to start Physical Therapy school and my goal is to work with wounded warriors when they come home!

  62. Patrick

    August 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I’m proud to be the 3rd generation of my family that served. Ironically, that service proved to be a common thread that allowed me to know my father better than I think I could have otherwise. That service has given me so much in return; I am fortunate to have had the privilege. Great essay, and a terrific sentiment. It sounds just as good every time I read it.

  63. keeth phillips

    August 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm


  64. Larry D.Grey

    August 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Thank you for your service to our Nation. I love this essay. I plan to keep a copy if you don’t mind.

  65. conniejp

    August 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    u r so awesome and i salute u hun my oldest son served but during war time i have a 26 year old that wanted tyo but is epileptic my 9 year old wants to join but can he is epileptic so he wants to be a cop or fireman told him he can’t enough of that this war was bushes revenge on saddem hussin not bin laden saddam had a hit out on his daddy when he was president so he wentafter him when he couldnt fin bin ladin he never tried it took a black man to havew his head up to find america’s terroist anyway i heard on the radio the othyer day that we have only lost 1000 men and women in this war it’s been over 14 thousand and what the families have gone through from parents grandparents and the children that are left behind and are told their parent was a hero they died for our c ountry thank obama ( who i did not vote for nor wanted in office) for bring home what around 50 thousand human being to their homes and family i hope the government has set enough money aside to rehabilitate these war heros from what they had to do and what they had to see and live through they are damaged goods that need america now to help straighten out their heads and find them work pay off debts help them from foreclosures and most of all rehab the whole families so the3y under stanbd why their parent are the same persona nd will nev er b e last statement by the way bush never won office the hanging chads and it just happened to be his brothers state that he was govenor of so america caved and gave it to him this is bushes fault we hav e lost close to 15000 thousand men and women and then we have that sand nigger towel head in our army in fort hood with the islamic name that blew away what i thin k 21 people cuz he didnt want to go back out ac ross the sea he was a plant any body with an islamic name should be shot on our soil thgey own our stores hamberger stands they aer truc k drivers house builders they get here and we give them 10,000 dollars not to be paid back and stasrt a business are take o9ver something owned by an american they even drive our ice cream truc ks it’s really scary my ex who i known for 2 years has always said the third world war will be on our soil i didnt listen thought he was losing it but it’s so true we havew so many foreignors here from japs chinese , towel heads the border brothers and they are all taking ov e americas jobs from americans go back to the field where cesar chavez fought for u thank for letting me vent oh my uncles all served my mom’s dad did and even my brother back in the 70’s so i know what these men and women are going through i hope america is the c outry i really love and do what they need to do

  66. Marianne

    August 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    As an Army Mom, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for military men & women. Thank you for writing and sharing what so many feel. And thank you for your service to our country.

  67. Eric Hastings

    August 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you

  68. Tom Pipes, Sr.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Nick, I and am sure many other men want to thank you for your writing. I am part of 4.3%. Not too many wanted to be part of what was occuring in Southeast Asia. Many, like me, took deferments to go to college. But not too many came back after school to do their part.

    It was hard to see so many of my high school buds broken, treated horribly by other Americans who’s right to protest we believed we were fighting for. Many have not yet returned. Gave a man a few bucks yesterday who still carries his bag (his only possessions) and is led by his dog (his only friend).

    It concerned me then that so many of our countrymen failed to understand what was being sacrificed by so many young people at that time. The same is true now.

    I commend all those who feel guided to serve our country. This new generation of Americans, albeit a smaller percent, is worth so much to those who care about freedom.

  69. Michele

    August 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Excellent essay Nick. I remember the first time I read it, it made me cry. I was like your Mom. My son did everything (plus) they told him to do to realize his dream of attending West Point. He also had school staff asking him to re-think. “You could get killed.” To them, it wasn’t a matter of doing what he dreamed to do, what he felt he needed to do with his life.
    I am an Army wife & Mom. My husband, 3 sons and son-in-law are the .45%. I could never express enough the great pride I have for them or the rest of our military.
    Thank you all for all that you do.

  70. Richard

    August 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Thank You Nick for answering the call. I come from a long line of milirary that dates back to the civil war.
    you are correct that this country has slid bachwards on the service. I had learned about service and continued to serve by being active in the American Legion and VFW. Continueing to fight for veterans rights.
    once you take the oath your chest grows and you look at this country in a different way.
    God bless ALL who serve and their families. God bless the USA

  71. Steve Rowe

    August 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Nick, well said!! One of the proudest moments of my life is when my son was sworn into the US Navy. The officer doing the swearing in asked the young men in the front row, of which my sone was one, “Why did you join the Navy young man?” and his response was “Family tradition, sir!”. I thought I was going to lose it. Of a high school graduating class of a little over 100, he was the only one to enlist in the military.

    Those of the 0.45%, the 4.3%, before you and the 11.2% before you, I am so very proud of you, and reserve for you my utmost respect. We wouldn’t be here without you. Keep up the good work and remember we truely appreciate your sacrafice as we were there before you!

  72. gabe

    August 5, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you for writing that. I enlisted during the Vietnam Era at the age of 17. My mom had to sign for me and was perplexed that I would rather join the military than go on that med school scholarship that I was given. She asked me if I was sure that this was what I wanted to do and I told her the following:
    Mom, you know damn well what the US has done for you. They kept you alive after you were freed from the camp. You spent 3 years of pure hell in there and lost all of your family, friends, neighbors, your home and finally your country. It was the Americans who saved you. They fed you and kept you safe. They also allowed you to immigrate here from Canada after you left Europe. As an immigrant to this land of milk and honey, all of us need to pay back the Americans in some way and I choose to do that by spending 4 years in the military. Grant I won’t be going to med school now, but if I can get a scholarship to one now, there is no reason that I can’t do it again.”
    Mom signed for me. I never did go to med school after my enlistment, but did end up with 2 masters. To the very end my mom wanted me to continue with my education and get a PHD so that she could at least say “my son the Dr.” Sorry mom it ain’t gonna happen.

  73. sheila villeneuve

    August 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    NICK YOUR ESSAY TOUCHED MY HEART AND I AM SO SORRY WE gave credit to the wrong person. we too are a military family,my husband retired after 22 yrs in the army, a viet nam vet and a dessert storm vet, my son was in the coast guards and my son-in-law was in the army and my son is a capt. in the national guards and i have such great respect for all the men and women in the military and the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice. nick thank you for serving our great nation and thanks for the great essay. god bless you and your family.

  74. coty

    August 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I find this very inspiring and I am that 0.45% currently active duty Marine Corps I find what you have said is just the beginning of my thoughts of how this nation has become and what will become of this great nation everyone has lost the true meaning of what being a American is or what America stands for and what we, my brothers and sisters do on a day to day basis I currently can’t begin to fathom of what the future brings to this nation and what will happen will a major crisis have to be upheld for people to realize the idiocracy in our nation of what we have done to our self I find it unbearable that we who were the uniform are treated more like we have committed crimes and we are the ones that have become the bad guys. Most civilians don’t care or even have a clue what we go through or either care of what we go through. Congress all there worried about is there money and who can benefit it off that committee it’s not about helping the people of our nation now it’s about screwing your people of our nation and lets help the neighbors that hate us so much to an extent that they blow their own children up to kill an American or several Americans but yet we are the ones who are the bad guys because it’s what our commander in chief has us do. We do our job as instructed and we get tormented for it most of us can’t even function on a day to day basis because of what we have endured ,and the being away from family forcefully even though we volunteered for what we do we do it for the great nation we hope to see again later on in the future and we I believe are the ones who really want to make a difference in America not congress, not the president, more than half America is obese lazy and can’t find jobs or are not even looking for jobs due to our economy and what our great leaders have put fourth for us to strive towards our future what happened to the American dream what happened to a better future, hell even America isn’t the best place to live anymore freedom what it’s worth is it worth just money because that’s all that it seems like any more money, and greed, and power, why is it we have to send my brothers and sisters to be blown up on a day to day basis and shot at just to change a country and fight terror it’s all about money and power is all our so called great leaders want and they get what they want yes we have our first amendment and can express our opinions but just the incident with chick-Fila is just an outcry of pity in my eyes I find it very pitiful how you ask a Christian family man his views on gay marriage and he says that he believes that a man and women should be married as in the bible says. How are you supposed to reproduce the population of people when you don’t do what is natural most people find that artificial insemination is natural it’s not nor should gays be allowed to overkill an issue that is as simple as this if your gay that’s great on your part your happy i stand for that but just I have different opinions and this Christian man had different opinions on the gay marriage doesn’t mean he deserve to be harassed or not allowed to build his restaurant in certain city’s is just become completely outrageous and this is just an example of the idiocracy this country brings to itself and not focus on issues that currently matter as in our economy or the war or maybe the 16 trillion dollars in debt we have become over stupid choices and just acting not thinking words aren’t everything you can only make someone believe you so much actions show not words in my mind and we who fight and shed blood for this country, to waste time money and innocents life’s on both sides of the picture America all i have to say is what have you become and i cry out to god and to the people of the world why do we do this why can’t we stop just get your shit straight and heads in right direction and America get your head out your Ass and realize what we bring to our own domain and fix our own problems not every ones else’s I have no more to say at this time. God Bless America. Semper Fidelis

  75. Tyler Welch

    August 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    As of right now I have friends serving oversea’s, in basic for most branches and a friend going through BCT at West Point.(C/O 2016) I come from a family of military members and what you said there could not be more true. Right now I am in the process of filling out my WOFT Packet. Thank you for writing this. GOD BLESS AMERICA

  76. Megan @TLAS

    August 5, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Nick, please know that I am so very happy I found the source of this incredible writing. When I saw this circulating as being said by General P, I searched and searched to find the original source so that I could properly share. I couldn’t find the source I was looking for so I did not share. I am the writer of “A Soldier’s Promise” that has been circulating as “A Military Man’s Promise”. Many of the sites that shared your writing as someone else’s did the same with mine. I applaud many of them for correcting their mistake and giving credit where it is due. I applaud you for being so composed in your post here. I have shared this post with my readers and I hope more bloggers do the same so that what has circulated can be returned to you.

    Thank you for your words. Thank you for what you have done for your nation. I cannot imagine what you all carry. I cannot begin to comprehend what my husband – and all the infantrymen around him – have given. Thank you.

  77. Jim Shawley

    August 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm


    First time I’ve seen your essay, and it is spot on. You’re correct. The civilians just do not understand, and they *will* not understand, until “Hannibal is at the gates” so to speak. Hardship today is defined as having only 3G service; as being stuck in traffic; as being forced to purchase soft drinks sized less than 16oz.

    I remember back in 1975 the Doc. in boot camp asking me if I wanted out, since my left knee had swollen to twice its normal size. In no uncertain terms did I wish to leave the Navy.

    I well remember practically guzzling Maalox, trying hard to pass my qualifications to stand watch in the engineroom of the nuclear-powered cruiser back in the day. Not nearly as hard on the body as the Infantryman or Ranger endures, much less the Parajumper or SEAL or D-boy. But still. It gives me an appreciation that, like, for shure! the typical suburbanite who has never med a Warrior, and is closer to Kevin Bacon than any Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine will ever have.

    You have done your country proud. Stand tall. You’ve earned it.

  78. CI Roller Dude

    August 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    The problem with quotes in the internet is that it is difficult to prove who said them:- George Washington 1777

  79. Geoff B., CW4, SF, 5 SFG(A), 1996-Present

    August 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Well said, Ranger! RLTW, DOL!

  80. Stephen Art

    August 5, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Bravo Zulu Nick.

  81. Brendan

    August 6, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Sir, I wanted to know if you had any plans to turn this into a poster for sale on Rangerup.com?

  82. Blake Sawyer

    August 6, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Thank you for your service. I can relate to many aspects of your essay. It is nice to read things with such a tone of sincerity by someone who has experienced similar events. I sometimes think about re enlisting just as many of the guys I know do also. It is hard to beat the adrenaline rush of flying through cannons in Iraq watching the chopper behind you gracefully scale the cannon walls, to trying to force myself to do psych homework on a Saturday afternoon lol. Wish you well in all your endeavors.

    Fellow .45 Percenter


  83. Jamie

    August 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Thank you Nick, beautifully written. I am a 0.47 as my husband is a service member. Our children may choose to be as well as they are also proud of our country and would defend it.

  84. Dan ryan

    August 6, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I am very proud and greatful to those who have the courage to stand and fight for the weak… THANK YOU…!!!

  85. Jeff Vagell

    August 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I could not agree more with you Nick. You speak the truth, and the truth is sometimes a tough pill for most to swallow. Thanks for all you have done for our country and the world.

  86. Sandra Davis

    August 6, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Very well written.

  87. L. Catanag

    August 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Thank you for your service to our country! I know I’m able to enjoy many things in this country because of the choices you, my husband and several members of my family have made.

  88. Sheryl McGraw

    August 6, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I am a child of two soldiers and I loved what you said. When my dad came home from Vietnam he had totally changed. I did not know who he was until he got cancer and became the guinea pig at Walter Reed in Washington for an experimental drug called Kimo theropy. He was the first to take it. He had a lot of PTSD.

    My dad was in Vietnam 3 1/2 tours. My dad died as my daughter got her acceptance to Marymount in Terrytown, NY.

    I work at Job Corps trying to teach students what it is like to go in the Military. They have not a clue.

    Sheryl McGraw

  89. Lisa Rogers

    August 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I am thankful for what all of you guys do. To live a life of sacrifice …. to be Un-appreciated by people who just don’t have a clue. To get up , do all that you do behind the scenes; there is no cheering crowd like there is for the popular sports – yet what you guys do to keep us secure – those Un-supportive people ….. Sleeping soundly in their comfortable beds at night – don’t have a clue.
    Keep in mind those back here who do support you and pray for you while you are out there serving and protecting; Our prayers go up on your behalf ….. Our faces shine at your return – we hope you know in all you do that there are many who pray over your safety as well as thank God for what you do. We are not happy about the people out there who are unsupportive and down right rude. They’ll never know the sacrifice of your every day – in all you do. I know this is nothing it isn’t even a drop in the bucket for all that you guys do; but I am offering up a Thank-You wishing it was more. You guys deserve so much more than what you get. We live in a time where …. Sports – for entertainment is a high paying position; while our Fathers, Sons and Daughters who work to preserve , protect and sacrifice behind the scenes to give us another day to breath in freedom …… While some here are trying to strip that away too. I am just a simple American no special title or on the ‘list’ for who’s who; My Thank-you is so very small compared to the sacrifice you guys make , the things you carry out on behalf our Nation that no one see’s but you.
    I would like to make all the Un-appreciative people understand why they get to live in a country like this – ‘ The land of opportunity’; the sad part is they are self- absorbed with their own agendas; ….. Not You….. You are Men and Women who live a life to protect & preserve a country that gives freedom and choice to its children , You are Men and Women who are willing to do what-ever it takes to preserve that for our future generations, You are Men and Women who do not receive the ‘at-a boy’ & ‘ at-a girl’ for jobs that most would not do to protect and keep us. You are the Men and Women that do not receive big reward shows , fancy cars, big expensive houses and sometimes what you do to preserve our freedoms don’t ever receive a ThankYou at all. But YOU GO OUT THERE EVERYDAY AND DO IT AGAIN! There is no appropriate way to give you a Thank-You to cover all that you guys do. Just know that there are those Of us out here that pray for you every-day, Thank God for you everyday, and understand that this life you have sacrificed so the majority can live free is more appreciated than you’ll ever know; Thank-You does not cover the gratitude for all that you guys and gals do. May all of you who serve , have served and the families of those who have given their lives have Gods Blessing on them, to feel the Love of their families , friends and country- men when they start to feel alone or abandond and to know that there are people out here who love them , support them ,pray for them. There are no words adequate enough to cover what it really means when we say ‘Thank-You’.

  90. Lisa Rogers

    August 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I am thankful for what all of you guys do. To live a life of sacrifice …. to be Un-appreciated by people who just don’t have a clue. To get up , do all that you do behind the scenes; there is no cheering crowd like there is for the popular sports – yet what you guys do to keep us secure – those Un-supportive people ….. Sleeping soundly in their comfortable beds at night – don’t have a clue.
    Keep in mind those back here who do support you and pray for you while you are out there serving and protecting; Our prayers go up on your behalf ….. Our faces shine at your return – we hope you know in all you do that there are many who pray over your safety as well as thank God for what you do. We are not happy about the people out there who are unsupportive and down right rude. They’ll never know the sacrifice of your every day. I know this is nothing it isn’t even a drop in the bucket for all that you guys do; but I am offering up a Thank-You wishing it was more. You guys deserve so much more than what you get. We live in a time where …. Sports – for entertainment is a high paying position; while our Fathers, Sons and Daughters who work to preserve , protect and sacrifice behind the scenes to give us another day to breath in freedom …… While some here are trying to strip that away too. I am just a simple American no special title or on the ‘list’ for who’s who; My Thank-you is so very small compared to the sacrifice you guys make , the things you carry out on behalf our Nation that no one see’s but you.
    I would like to make all the Un-appreciative people understand why they get to live in a country like this – ‘ The land of opportunity’; the sad part is they are self- absorbed with their own agendas; ….. Not You….. You are Men and Women who live a life to protect & preserve a country that gives freedom and choice to its children , You are Men and Women who are willing to do what-ever it takes to preserve that for our future generations, You are Men and Women who do not receive the ‘at-a boy’ & ‘ at-a girl’ for jobs that most would not do to protect and keep us. You are the Men and Women that do not receive big reward shows , fancy cars, big expensive houses and sometimes what you do to preserve our freedoms don’t ever receive a ThankYou at all. But YOU GO OUT THERE EVERYDAY AND DO IT AGAIN! There is no appropriate way to give you a Thank-You to cover it all. Just know that there are those Of us out here that pray for you every-day, Thank God for you everyday, and understand that this life you have sacrificed so the majority can live free is more appreciated than you’ll ever know; Thank-You does not cover the gratitude for all that you guys and gals do. May all of you who serve , have served and the families of those who have given their lives have Gods Blessing on them, to feel the Love of their families , friends and country- men when they start to feel alone or abandond and to know that there are people out here who love them , support them & pray for them. There are no words adequate enough to cover what it really means when we say ‘Thank-You’.

  91. Summer T.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Beautifully written. I am so glad you took the time to put this on paper. Many Americans never will understand the sacrifices made to maintain their freedom.

  92. Roger

    August 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I run the Veteran Support Center for the University of Utah. I was sent this essay a few weeks ago and I knew it wasn’t’ from Petraeus because, politically, he couldn’t write this (though I’m sure he supports it). Not that I can attribute it to someone it will be posted on our Facebook page and web site because it helps civilians understand that Veterans aren’t just a group of folks who had the same employer at one time. We are a culture. Thanks.

  93. Steve Chadwick

    August 6, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Right On Nick! Thanks for sharing. What an awsome lady your mom must be. The support she showed you was something not many 16 year olds see today. Congrats on your acceptance into the USAMA and your subsequent service to the USA. I am a retired MSG 18Z5VW8 3/75 RGR and 7TH SFG(A). I enjoyed the article and would be honored to support your cause. RLTW

  94. Michael Selves, Maj. USAF (Ret)

    August 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Nick, I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments, so I hope you’ll understand when I say that I wish you had ended your post (about giving due credit for writings) by properly crediting my lifelong idol, Winston Churchill, with the last sentence of your post. 😉

  95. CDR C

    August 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I wish it could be a Full Page Ad in every paper. Pelosi said “We are Expendable.” Well, we did choose that choice in protection of our Country but we continue to get kicked under the tires by lots of folks. God Bless those who responded to this article and thanks Nick for submitting the truth. Submarines forever…

  96. Doug Layton

    August 6, 2012 at 11:45 am


    This is the best essay that I’ve read in several years!


    Doug Layton
    WPNS Platoon
    3/75 Infantry (Ranger)


    August 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    A incredibly eye opening essay, I would say you hit the nail on the head… That being said, If it were me who wrote this essay I would be somewhat flattered that it would be credited to such great leaders and people would believe that they wrote it. The truth has come to light but by such a mistake being made it has put you on a pedestal with the likes of some our generations greatest generals.

  98. James D Hawkins

    August 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I love to read messages from the troops, the real people who ensure our freedoms, our freedoms that so many take for granted.

    Thanks Nick, keep it up
    “your shipmate”

  99. Donna Marn

    August 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    This is very well said.It’s almost like,when the truth is written,they want to hide the true words.Does that make since?As a Ranger,i’m sure you understand.They have made Fake Facebook accounts,Fake twitter accounts,to hide true words.The Recent “Domestic Terrorist Attack”,On the Sihk People,Proves my point.I have a War Conflict Name Change,That my 10 uncles set forth,for the Protection and Well Being,Of My Family.I am Proud To Be just a small part of something so very special.I will continue to write the truth to the FBI,DHS,ICE,Military.I am not affraid to Protect all Innocent American Civilians,No Matter what Color,No Matter what Religion.Thank You for Serving,and remember,People like Myself,Depend on people like yourself.

  100. Jon

    August 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I hadn’t seen this since I read it on Rangerup a while ago, and it’s funny that you linked this just like two days ago on facebook, and I just had two people post this saying General Petraeus wrote it. I corrected them, but the sad part is I don’t think either of them gave a shit, and it breaks my heart that you guys will probably never get the credit and the attention that Ranger Up deserves from this writing.

  101. Rick Trowbridge

    August 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    What an amazing article! I’ve not heard OUR sacrifices summed up like this before!

    Thank You and God bless you!!!

  102. Mark O'Donald

    August 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    To honor those who have fallen, is a duty. To ignore those who did not, is a disgrace.

  103. MONTE7

    August 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I’d like to thank you for the amount of time you save me. That sounds strange I know, allow me to explain. If I were to tally the instances where what I would have said to a smug looking civilian walking past was easily relayed by one of my RU shirts I’d be into cumulative HOURS. Shutting the ever present Bar-on (Bar borne moron) up is simplified to a quick gesture to a witty vet-proud t-shirt instead of “please stop talking, your ignorance hurts my head” and the implied conflict that ensues. I’m especially fond of wearing the more… poignant… examples to book stores, Starbucks, colleges and the like. Being offered a recruiting billet was a bit different, and another challenge for sure, but I am adapting from maneuver to desk and continuing to have fun with it. Regarding the time-saving the original posting’s essay is no different. It has graced the eyes and been exposed to the minds of the young men and women that visit my station as an example of what I believe to be a true motivator for service mixed with some personal experience. Again saving me time and effort! So I give thanks and hope to continue seeing the inspirational work you and the RU team put forth. Though, I am hoping the movement into pants doesn’t lead into other ventures of the ilk…. fanny packs, slap-bracelets, visor hats and the eventual RU man-purse. Finally, Sláinte, I owe you a beer (do you think we have enough beer?) if you’re ever near Albany NY.

  104. Michele

    August 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    God bless you and keep you safe. Thank you for writing the truth. I have two sons in the army. One active and one vet injured in aphganistan. The average Person really does not understand what Heros you all are!
    God bless you

  105. Shane Schmutz

    August 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Well said. I’ve felt this way for a few years now. Thank you from a WP ’01 Grad. – Shane

  106. Just Plain Jason

    August 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I lost a “friend” over this, because he didn’t like the fact that he felt I thought I was better than him because I volunteered to go back in. He never served and after September 11th he never signed up. I had been out of the military for 8 years and went back in the Guard because I felt I should do something. I posted a link to the story, he was pissed because the military “had its chance to get him” but didn’t when we were in high school.

  107. Jay

    August 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I stand proud to be one if the .45%ers! Still serving on active duty! God Bless all of the other .45%ers! A very special thanks to ALL who have out in the uniform!

  108. Tamara Hall Mooradian

    August 6, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    As a class of ’82 spouse, mother of an Army Aviator, daughter of an Army aviator, sister of a Marine Corps infantryman and avid Blue Star Mother, you have my support. Gen. Mayville and Gen Mickelson are my husband’s classmates and I know that any misrepresentation was unintentionallyOur family lives by an honor code and truly believes in our responsibility to protect and defend the democracy. Please do not feel alone. Warriors in our family date back to 1607!
    Mrs. Capt. Paul S Mooradian (airborne ranger, pathfinder, master blaster)
    Aka Tamara Hall Mooradian
    Aka CW4 Rudy Hall’s daughter (provincial police aviation advisor Kontum ’67-”74
    Aka Sgt. Travis Hall’s sister
    Aka Capt. Steven Mooradian’s mom

  109. Sgt Bevuto

    August 6, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I am not a writer, poet, artist, singer, muscian, genius, lottery winner, Pro athlete, famous or politician. I am though retired from serving in the US Army and a Disabled American Veteran whose family has chosen to serve in one branch or another of our military forces generation after generation. Then our oldest son, a honor student, fine athlete decides to drop out of college to enlist in the US Army after 9/11. Even though his college was all paid for he decided that he as an American, having so many relatives who honorably served our nation could not attend college, sit through classes while others were fighting for our country after it had been attacked. He told me years from now when all this is over, finished he did not want to look back and say, “I should of enlisted, I should of did my part”. As a parent, I was scared, afraid of all that might happen to my boy but as a father, a Soldier I was proud that he was willing to challenge the view held by the majority that others will take care of the war, fighting. Then as the author expresses so well, when our son did enlist, I had called in many favors so he could of had almost any MOS, job, skill in the US Active Army instead he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and enlists as an Airborne Infantryman, which left no doubt if he would see Combat. However when he came home to face, friends, family and others in our small town America he was met similar to Nick’s encounters with his teachers. His mom, I and grandfather were proud and only started our dreams for him to serve with honor, come home safe and healthy. Others though thought he was throwing his life away, especially when they found out he was becoming an Infantryman, what, was he crazy, insane, stupid, did he not know there was a war. After his two tours, two stop losses or more commonly known as the back door draft, he is back in school, safe and healthy. Yet as Nick points out in his article who sacrificed not most Americans, who supports the military again not most Americans unless you count waving a banner, putting “I Support the Troops” stickers, flags, signs so others can see how much you care. Yet our country, America and Americans decided to cut taxes during two Wars, begin to cut benefits, medical, educational and across the board cuts for our military serving now, those who are now Vets and those who will enlist. All in the name of making sure every American tightens their belts during our economic crisis and Wars. It is disgusting and I am sick and tired of most Americans no matter whether you claim to support the troops, are Republicans, Demorcrats or any other political party. Nick, my son and all the others understand one item all currently serving and those of us who are Vets know, “Suck it up and move on”. Majority of Americans need to begin by looking in the mirror and either go to the nearest Recruiting Station and enlist or Suck it up and start actually sacrificing so Disabled Vets do not have to drive three or more hours to seek medical treatment, physical therapy for service connected disabilities. If you do not serve, then pay up by closing loop holes in the taxes, pay an across the board percent without any loop holes to cover those who do step up and serve. Then maybe you might be able to put a sign in your window or on your car, truck saying “You Support your Troops” because from what I see is a majority of Americans hiding behind words with one excuse after another and I for one am tired of it. Serving in the military we learn all kinds of things about our equipment, attitudes, achieving our goals/missions. One of my favorite is when a leader asks: Does anyone know the maximum effective range of an EXCUSE? Answer: Zero-0-meters, there is no excuse for not getting the job/mission accomplished. Therefore no excuses for Americans not paying there share, sacrificing as so many others did in previous Wars. Begin to be an American and take responsibility for not sacrificing what is needed to get the job done whether it is by enlisting or money. If not then we are most definetly FUBAR……

  110. Gail

    August 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Firstly, thank you for your service to this country.
    But, I must say that you were guilty of the same thing.
    Where is the credit for Winston Churchill’s words..”Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few”. Most assuredly these words will now be mistakenly attributed to you. A simple .. As Winston Churchill said…would be good.

  111. Wally Carmichael

    August 7, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Great message Nick. I’m an Army Medic with 23 years at this point.

    I do want to point out that the statistics really can’t be compared to WWII and Vietnam. Those two wars included the draft. My father was drafted during Vietnam and spent most his time in Germany. He got out as soon as he could. His brother, on the other hand, enlisted, went to Vietnam and retired as a SGM with 30 years.

    My point is, I bet if you we took out the numbers of those who were drafted and compare the enlisted numbers we would come up with just about the same number.

    In either case. I am very proud to be .45% and an even smaller percent to stay and earn my current pay grade.

    It’s been one hell of an adventure.

  112. Proud to be an American (Duty, Honor, Country)

    August 7, 2012 at 5:24 am

    This is well stated (powerful words). I pray that God will bless all our true heroes, because a cowardly populace and many politicians seem to have forgotten 911 and they only offer lip service to those who sacrificed so much.

  113. Don Little

    August 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I served in the USAF and my son is serving now.
    The probulem is that we will never get todays spoiled self centered population to understsnd untill its to late. When there are so few that they can not do the job and the evil comes knocking ou ther head.
    Thank you and all our service men and wemon for your service.

  114. Angel Caratachea

    August 7, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Well put young man. Am proud and honored.

  115. Dan

    August 7, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I was having kind of a bad day. Thanks for reminding me I earned something that most haven’t. I should make a t-shirt for you guys —

    I held my hand up, while your held you held your hand out.

  116. Dan

    August 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I was having kind of a bad day. Thanks for reminding me I earned something that most haven’t. I should make a t-shirt for you guys —

    I held my hand up, while your held you held your hand out.

    I love your site thanks for all you do.

  117. Tonya HOllederer

    August 7, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Very well written – my son is presently in the military and has served 3 tours – it greatly saddens me to see how our veterans are treated not just when serving and when they come back but also when they are deploying – the stories I could tell you about going to camp lejeune to see my son off are ridiculous!!

  118. Cheryl

    August 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Very well said. We owe our heroes in uniform more than we can repay. They’ve done for us what we could not do for ourselves and have asked nothing in return. To quote a Gold Star father “What have you done today to deserve someone you don’t know, dying for you?”

  119. Pamela D Terry

    August 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Thank you for your service

  120. Mike

    August 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Nice job!

    In the last few years I tried to go back in at 48, however they told me I was too old. I could still run and pass my PT tests, however too old. Yet the military was screaming for more soldiers, too old. I spent the most part of my youth in the Army and had some bad times and some good. The point is, yes we are an elite group. Who in there right mind would want to go back in at an older age? Yet, now 52, I would go in a heartbeat. I salute the .45% of us that have and would do it all over again. I have friends that have PTSD, and even with all their struggles knows what it means to be a soldier and would still lat down their lives.


  121. Jason

    August 7, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thank you Nick for giving a voice to a little talked about truth.

  122. Ken Gioffre,Cpt. United States Army Reserve

    August 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    My age group, none of our friends have served in the military. As I look around at a group that may be gathered at a function, I wonder why none chose to serve. I wonder why none made a sacrifice.

    My father enlisted in the Army, my stepfather a Seabee, my father in law, Army and then Marine Corps, my brothers in law 3 Marine Officers serving on active duty at the same time,Marine Corps history, my brother a Lt. Colonel in the US Air Force in Germany. We are all proud to serve and have served. No one can understand unless you have been there. I cannot even understand as I never had to be deployed but would have gladly gone when told. I wear all the gear proudly representing all branches of the service. No one branch better then the other as we have a common goal. A bullet is a bullet, a bomb a bomb, a land mine a land mine. It does not matter what color you are, what nationality you are, what religion you are, or what branch of service. One thing in common, all of those men and women chose to serve and sacrifice for freedom, justice, liberty.

  123. Shari

    August 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Nick I don’t think anyone could have said it better and there aren’t enough ways to thank or repay any soldier for the sacrifices they make. I grew up during the Vietnam era and had friends who were drafted or joined the army and felt terrible when they were treated like lepers when they returned home. My grandfather served in WWI, my father served in the Pacific in WWII, two of my uncles served in the Korean War, and an Uncle was on choppers in Vietnam.
    This country owes all it’s Vets a tremendous debt and services should be provided without question. The VA should be funded that our Vets aren’t waiting hours to be seen for whatever need they have, if welfare can be funded then our VETS deserve even more. Just a HUGE THANK YOU to all the VETS out there who have served with honor and dignity, know that the majority of Americans support you and wish you the best.
    Nick keep up the writing and thank you for your service to our country and may God Bless you and all our military.


  124. mariana

    August 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    THANK YOU !!

  125. Daren James

    August 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I’m proud to have been one of the 0.45% that served over 20y.

  126. The Spaniard from Spain

    August 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Saturday, March 13, 2010
    Everywhere on this small planet we call Earth, is a United States Service member on mission, standing post or on watch for both you and I. Whether its in a forward area, or behind the line, they do this out of duty and honer for their country. For the very same country you and I both enjoy, and are able to live as free men and women. Everybody wants to live in America, but not everybody wants to do their part. Not taking our liberties for granted would be a good place to start. So the next time you see a public servant. Say thank you. Tell them you appreciate the quality of life they provide. The next time your bummed out because you didn’t get what ever it is you wanted, just remember its always good to have choices, and in America we have many. Sianara.

  127. Dr Lee Weese, Ph. D., CW3, Retired, USA

    August 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    WELL written. Thank you & thank you for your service.

  128. The Spaniard

    August 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Monday, May 25, 2009
    “There is one great thing you men will be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankfull that twenty years from now when your sitting by the fire place with your grandson on your knee and he asked you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, Well your grandfather shoveled shit in Louisiana. No, sir, you can look him in the eye and say, son, your grandaddy rode with the great Third Army and that Son-of-a-Goddamned- Bitch named Georgie Patton!” General Georg S. Patton, Jr. June-5, 1944

    Many of those men did not make it back to that place by the fire. We will keep your storey alive, we will remind those who in there self deprecating ways go about their lives not knowing the great men who gave there lives so that we can continue on as free men and women and in the pursuit of what ever it is that we may want to pursue. My father and uncle both served in Vietnam. I served during the cold war under hazardous conditions, but all three of us made it back to our family’s, and our life’s continued on. Today as every day should be, is to remember those who are not by the fire with use, but wait for us on the other side. I solute you and your family’s with tears in my eyes, and I swear with God as my witness I will honer you for the rest of my time here on Earth. I love you, and I thank you for committing the ultimate sacrifice, for you great men and women are my Hero’s. God speed. until we meet again. Sianara…

  129. The Spaniard

    August 7, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Friday, May 8, 2009
    To my brothers and sisters at arms. To you I bid, God speed, and may you hit first and hard, with the wind always at your back. My family and I thank You for your sacrifice and we want you to know that we appreciate your hard work and keeping in the tradition of our Armed Forces those of Honor, Integrity and true American grit. You will not be forgotten and we will always be grateful. Sianara..

  130. Marine Mom

    August 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Thank you Nick for summing up everything I have been unable to get across to my group of anti military ignorants!
    I am the proud mom of a 17 year old daughter that has work her butt off to prove her commitment to serve. On July 17, 2012 she swore in as a Marine! Yes I proudly signed even though she has another year of high school. She has already witnessed the negative misguided manipulation from “The Authority” that serving your country is at the bottom of the list. That is wrong on all levels! I do understand the stereotype placed on our military and it makes me sick.
    My Grandfather served the Navy in WW II, and he always told me when I felt I was beaten down, “If you stand for nothing, you will never have enemies.” So I would stand up and piss them all off. Be proud of who you have become, and always stand up for what you believe in! Enemies beware, no matter what soil you stand on! Those that serve have a brotherhood that will not be broken. I am proud of all our uniformed military past, present and future and will continue to re-educate those of ignorance one way or another!

  131. Pasquale Speranza

    August 7, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Outstanding!! It is unfortunate that most people do not understand sacrifice and commitment. Semper Fi!!

  132. Honey Airborne

    August 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you so much for your story…I am so proud you are an American…and I will keep your story going…I won’t forget…
    one of the .45%…hoooooahhhhh Retired US Army Paratrooper

  133. J Riley

    August 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    You nailed it, I think every one in congress should be made to read this so they can really evaluate what they are willing to sacrifice for this country besides their opionons since their kids are to good to protect this country! Semper Fi!!!

  134. Chris Gray

    August 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Funny thing. Those teachers couldn’t have gotten into West Point even after they graduated from college. I’d be a pay check on it.

    Rangers Lead the Way

    B Co 2/75 alum

  135. W Frank Johnston

    August 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Nick, I knew when I read the comments that they had to be from you because I’ve been a Ranger Up supporter and customer for a few years now and I remembered the explanation you wrote on the Ranger Up .45 shirt. It is extremely well written and it portrays many excellent and salient points. I agree with you and what your wrote…thank you for writing it. Your concept of Ranger Up…and the thought and meaning you provide in explanations for each shirt – really art…is compelling. I have purchased most of them and proudly wear them with appropriate explanations about your business and what it represents. Keep up the great work and your messages that exemplify the Warrior Ethos. RLTW !!! Frank USMA ’81

  136. toby dorn

    August 8, 2012 at 12:31 am

    even though I have served but I have stood behind and beside our brave men and women in our armed forces and very proud of you Nick for you essay

  137. danny rector

    August 8, 2012 at 2:58 am

    To all who have served:
    I hope I speak for all of my family and friends when I say Thank you for your sacrifices! and everything for which you have fought and bled for. This will never be enough i n my opinion . I did not serve because I was young and stupid. I regret that everyday . J wish I could say more but to those few you know who you are . You have my undying heartfelt thanks.
    Danny Rector

  138. troy harrell

    August 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Ive been following u since the beginning bro. Love wg at u do. I even gave u a few recommendations for shirts. As a fellow ranger I couldn’t agree more with this story. I suck at writing but couldn’t in 12 lifetimes wrote this better. I am asking if I could repost this of course with your name to try to reach out to some friends. I’m from Tampa and as u know a very left liberal state that is quickly becoming a sad state pertaining to military issues and understanding them. I recently got into a debate with a local rage radio guy who pretty much bashed me and said we are all Brainwashed robots and we walk around demanding thanks and don’t deserve it. Quickly pointing out the Iraq prison thing. Please let me know. RLTW

  139. Marie Evers

    August 8, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Nick reading this brough tears to me. I know I am proud of you!!! I feel this writing/article should be published in Time, Newsweek, etc. This will give people who are not associated with the Military what goes through our men and women minds who want to serve and High School students who want to attend the best – West Point and the other Military Schools! Thank you.

  140. Rick

    August 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Nick, good job, and welcome home. I recall sitting in my English class in High School a few days before graduation. The teacher asked us what our plans were. When she got around to me I said, “In two weeks I will at basic training for the US Army.” Silence. Then her remarks, “What a waste!” I responded, “Well, I am proud to serve my country.” The year was 1968.
    I spent a year in Vietnam. Came back, with what we now call PTSD. The next 40 years were a struggle. However, the guys I meet at the VA, all say the same thing. We would do it all over again.
    God Bless, and thank you for your service.

  141. JP

    August 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

    I posed this on Facebook and an aquaintance promptly commented on it that we volunteered (as opposed to the WW2 and Vietnam draftees) and aren’t “owed” and “entitled” to anything more than any civilian that works a dangerous job.

    I think they missed the fucking point completely.

  142. Mom of an 18th EN

    August 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Thank yous o much for poting this, as a Desert Storm Vet and a mother of a soldier currently deployed in Afghanistan, you will never know how much this means to me. It has lifted my spirit today on a day where I have not heard from my son in 2 weeks. The 18th EN’s have suffered way to many casualties in the short time they have been there. They locate and disarm IEDs daily. And are in constant danger in one of the most hostile places in Afghanistan. Just to know that others understand the sacrifices these soldiers have made helps with what seems like forever for me as a mom waiting to get her son back home. Tjhank you and God Bless you!

  143. Mark Corbishley

    August 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

    This so speaks clearly. I served 28 years in the Coast Guard although I did nto see action over seas I was a major part of HLS after 9-11. I so much respect all of the service members. At the age of 45 I begain have major issues with my body. I felt like a beat up old man. At 29 years old my country sent me a letter saying cut backs time to retire. When I reached the out side i met so many people who thaught they new me and in some cases stabed me in the back becouse I took pride in my work. My oldest step son joined the army and served in Afganistain He got out after two years for personnel reasons. I am so proud of him. My point is you truly are a part of a great group. Your letter speeks for many of us on how we feel.

  144. Peter

    August 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

    hey bro this is damn near the best if not the best piece ive ever read. you did an extraordinary job on it. I originally posted this being said by Pat. I since then have fixed it. Great piece of work man.

  145. Andrea Loewy

    August 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I do have to point out the numerous times I have seen members of the general public walk up to an enlisted person in an airport and shake their hand and thank them for their sacrifices…or the times I’ve seen people stand up and applaud them. Not all people have forgotten everything you’ve given up for our way of life.

  146. Trisha Ludwig

    August 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you for your service! Thank you for so eloquently stating what I agree with 100%. My son is currently serving in the Army.

  147. Jeff Fisher

    August 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for your service Nick, and Semper Fidelis from an old Marine who preceded you!

  148. MAJ Matt Simons, Field Artillery

    August 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Well said brother – I agree that we are an elite group and in many ways disconnected from the rest of society. We are the .45%

    MAJ Matt Simons

  149. gary

    August 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    What will happen to the US when the .45% realize that the sacrifices endured for the majority, who do not appreciate them or even like them, are not worth it? Where is the sense of duty of the everyday citizen not to mention our leaders? What will our Nation be like if we lose these real patriots? Can we afford to lose them? I think not! The future of our Republic is on their shoulders and on all who have served.

  150. Miami Phillips

    August 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm


    Glad i checked to see who did write this awesome letter. I have reposted it (with your explanation and link) on the paws4vets website. Thanks for serving.

  151. Doc Sheldon

    August 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Beautifully stated, Nick!

    First of all, thanks for your service! Second, thanks for this eloquently written essay. I have no doubt it caused some young men and women that might have been feeling as though their sacrifices were unappreciated to think again.

    I did two tours in ‘Nam (volunteered, not drafted), and my Dad was at Guadalcanal and Iwo as a Corpsman, as well as in the Chosin with the USMC 1st Div. My Mom served as a Navy nurse and she and my Dad were both at Pearl when it was hit. I was wearing long hair and beads, protesting the war in the 60s, like all my friends, when I finally woke up, went downtown, got a haircut and hit the recruiter’s office.

    And never regretted it for an instant!

    Yeah, we got spat on and called names when we got home, but as far as I was concerned, that was fine. At least I got home in one piece.

    I didn’t enjoy or appreciate that… but I wouldn’t do it any differently.

    My military career cost me two marriages, ’cause everyone isn’t cut out to stay home, wondering. It takes a special kind of wife to wear both hats, year after year.

    That, I regretted a little… but I wouldn’t do it any differently.

    I missed a big part of my kids’ lives, traipsing around the world while they were growing up.

    I regretted that even more… but I still wouldn’t do it any differently.

    And I had to start my professional career at nearly 40 years old, with some stiff (and YOUNG) competition…

    That was a little tough… but I still wouldn’t change a thing.

    I bet you’re a good guy to serve with!

  152. Mike

    August 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Drive On Solider…. Thank you. Delta Company 1/187th Rakkasan 1988-1991

  153. Matthew DiGeronimo

    August 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Aloha, Nick. You have done what so few are able . . . hit the emotional bullseye using words. Often, it is so difficult to capture the uncommon emotions and uncommon experiences associated with serving our nation in battle with the limited word choices our language provides. You did it! Thank you form all of us who have tried and failed.

    I have experienced many of the scenarios you have described. Recently, however, I have turned up the intensity a notch. I am running for US Congress (Hawaii’s 2nd district), it is amazing to me how just a few years ago the general public provided me unending “gratitude” for my service (which was cut a few years short due to an injury). However, now that I am running for a Congress, it’s like I’ve “crossed the line.”

    You wouldn’t believe the types of things people say to me. It is unreal! It takes me running for Congress to get the truth to come out? I have all types of people doubting my ability to be productive in Congress because after all, “all you’ve done is a career in the military. what could you possibly accomplish in Congress”. . . .”you know, the “real” world is much more complex than your experiences in the military. . . you lived a rigid, checklist driven existence filled with protocols and formality. . the real world, especially, Congress doesn’t work that way. . . you must figure out complicated power structures, provide real leadership to a group of people that have various motivations. . it is far cry from your life in the military”

    All I can say, is that I have been stunned. On more than one occasion, I have been scanning the area for Ashton Kutcher to jump out and inform me that I’ve been “punked”. The notion that anyone thinks that Congress could possibly be more complex and difficult to excel in than a career in the military is laughable. There is no organization on the planet that is better equipped to prepare its leaders how to remain calm under pressure, achieve results regardless of unexpected variables or chaos – we call this the “fog of war”, and develop REAL leadership skills with a group of diverse personalities, cultures and genders.

    Keep fighting the fight on behalf of the rest of us, Nick. You have been gifted with a writing talent that you must continue to use!

    Best Regards,
    Matt DiGeronimo

  154. Household Six

    August 8, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    It amazes me, as a military spouse and teacher that so many parents and teachers warn their children, even hope that their children never join the military. My husband enlisted in 1975… Not a popular time to join. He got out, went to college and got commissioned 1985 and WE as an Army family have served ever since. We just moved for the 19th time and he has commanded downrange. We have troops serving over and over again and no one will ever know except the soldiers how that feels and what that has done to them, not even their spouses. Yeah, war sucks but it sure sucks more when so few are bearing the brunt! Hooah, and thanks for the essay. Sincerely, Household 6

  155. Carolyn

    August 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    As a female veteran, I served because I wanted to and luckily my family is still intact. And no others know what it is to be deployed except the few that are deployed. I am better today because my dear military friends still stay in touch and they are my real friends.

    Thank you for the space to respond.

  156. Tom Stella

    August 9, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Justcould not be said better Nick, awesome job, being in the service myself it is good to see someone put it in those words, Semper Fi

  157. Lauretta Ricker

    August 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

    So sad that America is bringing up a generation that does not understand the meaning of honor. They are not being taught respect and loyalty. The world we live in is becoming a very dangerous place. God be with us all!

  158. Taco Bell

    August 10, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I’m so glad to see this post. There are alot of great writers out there whose pieces become internet legend. Yours I fear has reached that level of misrepresentation. Sherri Kirk gave me this link and I’m so glad to put your name in there. Fantastic job brother and look forward to reading more. Owe you a beer.

  159. SSG Pujols, Miguel

    August 11, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Its great stuff Sir, but its worst statistics because there was less than half of population than now. The population of the USA in 1940 was 132,500,000 people, in round numbers. There were 15 million men & women in uniform during WWII in that only 11.2% went to War. The population of the USA in 1975 was 215,973,000 & there were 9 million men & women in uniform during Vietnam War in that only 4.3% served in the War. The population of the USA in 2001 was getting to 300,000,000 million people & there is 7 million men & women in uniform now with the Global War on Terror only 0.45% are or was in the War Zone. NOW, these are unbelievable statistics! G1 infor: http://www.prb.org/source/​acf1396.pdf

  160. USMA64

    August 11, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Well said…


    August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm


  162. Doug with honor and thanks

    August 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Excellent piece to generate the pride that every member of the great US Military has earned and deserves. The sad fact is that those we serve(d) just don’t understand and appreciate the sacrifice that is made by any man or woman that wears the uniform. Infantry, medic, driver or cook, every GI is risking the possibility of injury or death and deserve the respect of all citizens. The question is; do we respect ourselves and show it in ways that isn’t ‘in your face’ pride? Every former military person is a veteran and is deserving of pride and honor. How can we all show this as civilians. I believe most states have a license plate that veterans can pay a small extra fee to have their veteran status shown. Here in Connecticut there is a flag and a veteran designation. At a VA Hospital that I go to a few times a year where hundreds of vets also go, the number of veterans that do not have this special license plate is disappointing and sad. Is it little pride in their service? Are these people ashamed of their service? If you are a veteran who served his/her country, get out there and pay the $10 or $20 extra dollars and show the pride you deserve.

  163. Mr Marine

    August 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Overall a good essay but I don’t think it’s appropriate to compare WWII and Vietnam to the “war on terror”. Of course there are lower rates of enlistment when there is no draft present. Especially for a war that most Americans don’t support (vs the entire world in imminent peril like in the world wars). On the flip side of the college professor discounting your opinions, in most of my college classes we have 1 or 2 loud mouth braggart vets who think they know everything about the area and its history because they spent a year there. There are some things to be learned in person and some to be learned in books, both have their place. Thanks to all who have served but that does not make you infallible, omniscient, or unbiased. The truth matters, not your feelings or the bleeding heart liberals at your university.

    Corporal of Marines, OIF 2008

  164. Jeff - MSgt USAF (Ret)

    August 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm


    Thank you for this post. There are many in the US today that view the Military as a lower class, quite the opposite is true. It is a shame. In a world of “entitlement” mentality, I give thanks every day for the men and women that have stepped up to serve, especially in this day & age of due more with less. And they do it with willingness and pride.

    MSgt, USAF (Ret)

  165. Tim

    August 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    0.45 % of the population and I have two soldiers in my family.

  166. Art Glover, LCDR, USN (Ret)

    August 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the article. It was well written. I just wish that people and companies would have appreciated the fact that we served no matter how long we served. Because We Served! I recall the treatment that I received during an interview in 1998 with a well known trucking company (They own those Orange trucks), where the interviewer, really treated me like crap because I was retiring from the Navy. I had already served 23.5 years of my 4 year enlistment so I took the Navy up on it’s promise. Oh and that particular company was supposed to be military friendly. Anyway, I digress. I served because members of my family, foster parents, foster brothers and uncles served. I give thanks for all my brothers in arms. Some gave all, all gave some. Keep up the good work and I pray that those still harms way make it home safely.

  167. Michael Foster

    August 19, 2012 at 7:53 am

    When I left Viet Nam in 1971, I walked out of an insane world and came home. When I got home, no one gave me a strange look…..instead they spit at me and called me a murderer. When I watched TV, the shows didnt feature vets with PTSD…..instead they featured drug crazed hippie soldiers who would rather shoot heroin than shoot the enemy. Whenever I see a military unit come home with the happy families and kids, I feel good when I see that. I feel good when I see the surprise homecomings and when there is some attention paid to the families of servicemen I hate war, I hate guns, I have dreams about how terrified I was for 365 days in Viet Nam…..They used to call it battle fatigue and most of have read about or have seen the movie Patton. General George Patton slapped a soldier in an aid station who was suffering from “battle fatigue.” And wanted him removed from the area so as not to contaminate the real soldiers. I’m proud I served by country in combat……..I’m not always proud of some of the things I did.

  168. Roy McClellan

    August 22, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Third Battalion, Fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne) is now aware you wrote this, Nick. Good job, ’nuff said.

  169. Hokey Oky

    August 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Nick, great story! Kudos to you!

  170. Michael Sanchez

    August 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    While I am not a veteran, my son did 2 tours in Iraq, and while not qualified to comment on his experience I can say this one thing that continues to bother me to no end.

    When my son Michael, was call to his second tour, he was currently attend college here in (the socialist republic of) California, and has substancial units, this of course interferred with his plans. That is not what bugs me. When he came back he went into the Reserves in San Diego, so had to move closer to the base. Trying to get back into college he ran into 2 barriers most veterans in this position would run into.
    1) He was not considered resident of the area (????!) and so would be taken only after out of state, illegals, and area residents were taken, of course there was no more room.
    2) He could not use his previous units because he did not complete at least 2 years and would have to start over.

    Why are these colleges given tons of Federal taxpayer funds allowed to discriminate against our veterans who go to school to improve themselves wherever they are stationed, and if stationed overseas or in another state “not a resident”. There needs to be a federal statute forcing all institutions of learning who take a dime of taxpayer money to accept all veterans who meet the minimum standards, after all these institutions would not exist if not for the freedom bought by their blood.

  171. Peg Relyea

    September 1, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Nick, Thank you for serving our country. And thank you for setting the record straight regarding your words. In college you learn that should you copy a person’s work without acknowledging that you borrowed the material, you fail. in this instance, our leaders failed to acknowledge you. let us hope they will now applaud you.

  172. Jen

    September 11, 2012 at 2:54 am

    To those who have lost relationships… I wanted to make sure and say, Both the soldier and the significant other are not always prepared for what is going to happen over the course of a military career. I am speaking both as a former combat veterans wife and a former army recruiters wife. I still care about my ex husband. This is possible. Just had to say – it takes a lot of dedication and commitment from both people and letting go of ego within the marriage which is tough… and if you happen to get divorced, you do not have to be enemies with your ex or talk bad about them.

  173. Josie

    September 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Nick, what was the date of your original post? I am hoping to share this piece with my English class and have them write an essay on it analyzing your persuasive use of rhetoric. I just want to give them an accurate date. Very-well written piece and I appreciate your perspective. Thank you for your service.


  174. CG Wife

    September 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I wanted to say thank you for your service, and for sharing your writings. My husband is going on 12 years in the Coast Guard. Some people thank him, some people put him down. (Oh, the Coast Guard, that’s not a real branch of service, or-why would you join the military? Get a real job in society.) He did a one year tour overseas during OIF with PATFORSWA. I am so proud of him for what he does-not too many people in these days are willing to sign up for any branch of the military. He loves what he does. I have had people make rude remarks to me about him ‘getting a real job soon’, or ‘actually supporting’ our family when his contract is up. He plans on doing at least 20. I am grateful to everyone who serves our country, because without them, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we’re blessed with. Your essay is wonderful. I read it 3 times, and it brought tears to my eyes each time. It made me feel even prouder of my husband for what he does, and appreciate his service (and everyone else’s) even more. Thank you again.

  175. del

    September 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

    we did what we were we told to do, no ifs ands or buts. we did it. and as you said what professional or olympians (added) or congress person(added again) can understand what it is to spend your holidays in a hole covering your head in chem gear alone, or making sure your brother beside you is safe. there are many of us that have signed the blank check that reads:
    for my country, I did and would do it again given the chance. What congressman or congresswoman or an olypian would do that?????????

  176. Pat

    September 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    To be fair, more people attempt to enlist than they can even need right now, in large part due to the economy. They’ve had to tighten recruitment restrictions. So while it may sound like .45% is shockingly low, they don’t just mass recruit all they can, people are actively being turned away.

  177. Anon American

    November 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Hi, thanks for the article! As a civilian, I share your shock at the fact that most of us are completely insulated from the ongoing war, and protest at the idea of having our taxes raised. Also fully understand your ire at the misattributions of your writing. Plagiarism is the best form of flattery?

    To preserve the spirit of what you wrote however, I would recommend keeping your article on its own page, and linking to it from the ‘i wrote this’ page. Somehow it takes away from the power of the piece when we have to scroll through the history of the piece first. It stands well by itself. Just a thought!

    Best wishes!

  178. Mark S.

    November 15, 2012 at 3:05 am

    This speaks volumes to me now, more than ever. As someone who wanted to serve, but was ineligible due to health reasons, you have my utmost respect… and now that my youngest son has turned 18, he is looking to serve. I hope he does. I will never be more proud of him, because he’ll follow in my father’s footsteps and be a hero to me.

    This is why men and women should serve, to honor, to protect, to be heroes.

    To anyone that reads this and is serving, or has served, our country in a way I never could…

    Thank you. I am honored. I am humbled. I am proud.

  179. Cody D.

    January 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Sir, absolutely outstanding. The passion of your words literally come off the page and speak to every warrior heart. Thank you for what you have done and continue to do by reaching out to like minded individuals.

    You’re the man.

  180. Savannah

    January 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Nick you certainly have talent in writing as well as serving your country. I am honored to be able to read this and share it with friends. Thank you for your service to your country.

  181. Tim

    February 23, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I loved this essay. It is so true, it hurts. The only thing I wanted to do since I was little was join the Army and serve my country. I really looked up to 2 of my older brothers who also served, 1 of which served in the first gulf war. I have numerous relatives that have served in the military, including numerous uncles that served in many different wars. This family connection to serving gave me a sense of duty. It was my duty to serve in the military for my country. When my time came I enlisted in the Army as a Combat Engineer. I served 3 years and never seen any conflict. I would have stayed in and probably retired from the Army except for a medical problem. One thing about it, I may not like politics or the people elected to those positions, but I do love my country and would “defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

  182. Christi

    May 28, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    I know, better late to the party than never. I come from a mixed Canadian/British background. I never served, but my Da (search and rescue, Burma Road)and Uncle (Paratroop into Greece)(RAF) both my Gran’da’s (one Hospital driver in WW1 one Infantry in WW2)and all of my cousins served in various branches. I tried, but they looked at my glasses and told me “No” even tho I shot 75% out of the gate and up to 90% after practice with the rifle. (I tend to shoot “low” on the silhouettes with handguns, to the discomfort of the guys at the range) It broke my heart to not be able to even be able to join the Reserves(I was aiming at the Princess Pat’s at the time)but I was raised with honour. That it’s gone down to .45% in the states and it looks kinda similar on this side of the border makes me so mad. Canada was supposedly colonized by WARRIORS dammit! Where are they now that they are needed, either in the WOT or other necessary stations?

  183. Chuck Taylor

    July 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    That just made my dick wiggle

  184. Dave in St. Louis

    September 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Outstanding! Your outlook should be embraced by all able-bodied young Americans coming of age at 18 or 19. Service to our country after high school should be the norm rather than the exception. After a few productive years in the military, take advantage of the GI Bill — I did — got a decent university education which enabled me to recently conclude a successful 42-year business career. At a happy and healthy 66, I’m now enjoying a robust retirement. God bless you, Nick! God bless America!

    Dave in St. Louis
    Twice Wounded Combat Veteran — 11 Bravo
    25th Infantry Division
    Vietnam, 1967-68

  185. Spc Anthony Beeken

    October 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    What you had to say really hits home. I , like you am part of the .45% At 35 yrs old when I found out I could still join, that is what I went and did. The recruiters laughed when I told them 35 when asked my age. Here I am about to hit my three year mark and I love what I do. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So far I have suffered being away from family only seeing them once a year. Missing holidays and birthdays with them I still am not used to, but I walk with my head held high because I am an AMERICAN SOLDIER!!

  186. Patti

    October 31, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I am proud of all the Americans in this United States of America who proudly serve, protect, and defend this Country. Thank you in all you do.

  187. Liam

    October 31, 2013 at 9:37 am

    BRO….I am a veteran that lives overseas….as a US Veteran I have the unique ability to see what veterans in Europe go through….they go through the same thing as we do, perhaps there is need to hook up with other veterans organizations here in Europe and compare notes, I believe that we can learn from each other!!

  188. Jodi Winterton

    October 31, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for your service. I wanted you to know that there are those of us that do appreciate and teach our children to appreciate your sacrifice. I have had relatives involved in the military since 1775 and before. My father, brother, son and husband have not be able to serve due to health issues, but in their hearts they are right there with you serving and being proud. They feel shame at not being able to serve as so many other generations have done. It is sad that the pride of patriotism is being lost to this generation and that so many do not understand the need for all to be willing to defend our freedom. I only pray that those of you that can protect our freedom do not ever give up and that brave men like you continue to desire to serve and sacrifice for the greater good. Thank you seems so small a thing, but it is so deeply heartfelt. Never give up trying to educate the masses to the truth. May God Bless you and all who fight for freedom within our world. May we be blessed to one day know the joy of living in a world without evil, but until then Thank you.

  189. Alan Johnson

    November 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Thank you sir, as a Cold Warrior I know what you are saying, there is an absolute disconnect between the freedoms that people have today and the sacrifice that has been paid by so many. We have made that sacrifice. We understand the brotherhood of it and the pride that we have in our service, there is no one or nothing that can ever diminish your effort. Drive on and God Speed!

  190. Lew Patton

    November 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Nick, thanks for your service. Move forward. We Brothers in arms.

    I’m a believer, you are doing a great service for us Veterans.

  191. Tony

    November 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Great essay and I guess I am part of the .45mug. I have served now since 1981, going on 33 years and have never considered it a sacrifice but an honor, and a privelage to have served this great country for so long. I also have seen many changes in the past 33 years that have made it a better time to be part of the .45 when it comes from the American public and as a military member I thank everyone who has supported us and will continue to fight for the rights of all free Americans even the ones that chose to bash us for being a .45. Patriotic to the core.

  192. Kody

    December 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    WOW. You gave me goosebumps. Thanks brother.

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