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On Veteran’s Day: count our blessings as a free nation

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By GEORGE CUSTER/for The Herald  —  I’m a veteran. Though I never had to go into combat, I know many who have. My time in the U.S. Marine Corps was during relative peace. I was ready to defend my country. And I can proudly say that I never had to lead my Marines into harm’s way. None of the Marines under my commands lost arms or legs, or had to come home so traumatized that they would be out of sync with society.

On this day I salute all men and women who have, and are, voluntarily putting their lives on the line, if needed, for our great democratic way of life. I may be jumping into murky waters here, but life in a submarine or on a troop ship that spends up to six months under, or floating atop, the oceans is of no small consequence. The spaces allowed on deployments make a jail cell look like a king room in a motel. What you can take is what you are wearing plus little else.

If a lot of “first time offenders” were put to sea or were made to bivouac in the hot desert for an extended time, they might think before committing that next crime.

There was a time, not that long ago, that young men and women were given the option to either go into the service or go to jail. I truly believe the service is a good tool for straightening out one’s head.

Like so many of our first responders, things don’t get too exciting till the balloon goes up. When it does, though, it’s pucker time.

I don’t salute you, I shake your hand, my brothers and sisters.

Rest easy America, your armed forces are ready if that balloon goes up.

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