Honor: Earned or Granted?

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I wrote my action thrilling novel, 2018: An Uncivil War, to all military, law enforcement, and firefighters who have selflessly put their lives on the line or at least were willing to do so.  I also added, in my dedication:  This book is for you!  Your bravery and honor always precedes you no matter where you go.

But what about all the servicemen who signed up to get college benefits but claimed “conscientious objector” status to avoid going into harm’s way; all the firefighters who popped positive on drug tests; and all the policemen who blatantly abused their authority by coercing others unlawfully, accepting bribes, and other sorts of unacceptable forms of misconduct?  Do you believe that I include them in my dedication?

I may not have spelled it out, but I most certainly do NOT include them.  Most writers, myself included, more than likely want to keep their dedications positive.  Spelling out such disclaimers can really ruin the purpose of a moving dedication.  Thus, suffice it to say that most, if not all, dedications come with hidden understandings and unmentioned disclaimers.

Just recently, I experienced two examples of lack of honor by uniform wearing civil servants.  The first one could probably be explained away, but the second one — in my humble opinion — was clearly unforgivable.

While working my full-time retail job, I passed a couple or few soldiers.  Two of them were in uniform, the other who had a military haircut was not wearing a uniform.  I did as I always do.  I approached them and expressed my gratitude for their service to our country.  They all just totally blew me off and didn’t even look my way.

Perhaps they didn’t hear me.  But, a former Marine myself, I always speak with a solid, resonant voice.  Then there lies the possibility that maybe they were hard of hearing.  After all, there are several soldiers who work around deafening artillery.  But these guys looked rather young to be such candidates.  I hope I am wrong about these guys.  But they gave me the “I’m a famous rock-star” vibe, now leave me the hell alone.

The second incident was much worse.  It involved my elderly, disabled mother.  Last week, we had some storms in the city where she lives — about 70 miles away.  We tried calling her to see if she was okay, but she never answered.  So we contacted the local police and asked them to make a welfare check at her location.  They did so and my mother immediately called and talked to my wife while I was asleep.

Apparently, the policeman who knocked on my mother’s door had been very rude.  She explained that she had been having trouble hearing the phone ring.  I know, this is a simple thing to fix for those of us web-crawlers out there!  But my mother is one of those technologically-challenged old-timers.  This officer rudely told her, “I don’t know anything about cell phones.”  And he walked away.

How about at least making an effort to look at her phone.  Even asking his partner for some help would have been very respectable.

My wife contacted the mayor and complained on the worthless officer.

In summary, I’d like to say to anyone who wears a uniform:  Honor is earned, not given or bestowed.  If you want to be a total dick, asshole, or bitch, please humbly accept the fact that you are not worthy to wear the uniform and relinquish it.  By not doing so, you simply disgrace said uniform that you insist upon undeservedly wearing, making it harder for those who wear it well to continue doing so.

 

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