OUTDOOR Adventures Thank You By Brian G. Schommer Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11, which just happens to be the official publication date of the very newspaper you have in …
By Brian G. Schommer
Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11, which just happens to be the official publication date of the very newspaper you have in your hand, is a tribute to military veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. ALL VETERANS. Many people confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day which honors our veterans who died while in service. Those who gave all get to double dip, being honored twice. In my opinion and one that is shared by many, these men and women deserve honor EVERY DAY. What does this have to do with “Outdoor Adventures.”
Undoubtedly, you have heard the proverb dating back to the Native American Cherokee tribe, “don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.” Not to be misogynistic, this is true for anyone’s shoes. Put yourselves in the shoes of an 18-year-old rural kid from Anywhere, Any State USA sitting on the porch of the family home. He picks up the newspaper and reads that the Selective Service Act of 1917 has been enacted meaning that through conscription, his outdoor adventures of skipping rocks at the local pond, playing a little ball with his buddies or any activities he enjoyed most likely would be changing drastically. You see, selective military conscription is “the draft.” His outdoor adventures will depend on what branch of the military he ends up in and where, overseas and thousands of miles away from the peaceful confines of his home. Instead of tossing a ball around, he will be throwing grenades. Instead of going hunting for wild game, he will have to shoot at other human beings, and will have other human beings shooting at him. The adventures in his future will certainly be outdoors, but they will be anything but fun. As Union General William T. Sherman stated during the American Civil War… “War is hell.”
Should this young man survive the many battles he is sure to see, including watching fellow comrades perish at the hands of an often unseen and unknown enemy, he will be asked to return to his home and get back to life as normal, except, it will never be normal again. In 1940, his sons will read a similar article in the paper and of course, while television was still primarily just a vision, they heard all about it on the radio. Their sisters would not be drafted but should they desire, and fit a few certain criteria, including parental consent, they could enlist for various duties. Considering the United States did not officially enter World War II until December of 1941, the enactment of the Selective Service Act of 1940 illustrated that it was becoming clear, the outdoor adventures of many of our nation’s young men (and some women) were about to dramatically change once again.
Technology had provided numerous advances when it came to weaponry, protective gear, and warfare in general. These soldiers’ outdoor adventures would take place on land, sea and in the air. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane is known to many as skydiving. For a paratrooper, there is nothing recreational about their job. To a young man at Normandy on D-day, it was not just another day at the beach. From every conflict that our nations military have been involved in going back to the Revolutionary War, and during all peace time, the men and women who have put their names and lives on the line deserve to be honored, and THAT is what November 11th is all about.
For those who have served, are serving and will make the decision to serve in the future… THANK YOU. I appreciate the outdoor adventures you have been on and will continue to have going forward that most of us are not able, or for some who choose not to be, willing to partake in. May we never see another necessary act of conscription, may more peaceful times be in our future so we can all Get Out and ENJOY the Great Outdoors.