Other than honorable – “Thank you for your service?”

Praise the Lord St. Pete.

I’m going to apologize in advance because there might be some use of words that might not be printed but I’m just so damn sick and tired of the BS that I have witnessed and been a victim of for more than years.

Other than honorable is a type of discharge one would receive if they had issues at the time they separated from military service. For the record, I was honorably discharged from the Marines and medically discharged from the Army.

I hear that statement “thank you for your service” from so many folks both white and black and for the most part I reply. It’s just that so many I personally know are just full of crap when they say it and it’s just a cliché to them.

It pisses me off and I fight the Marine in me to not reply the way I want to because I know it means nothing to you at the time you said it, especially when you say it only to preface what you really feel and then say what you really wanted to say in the beginning.

I have yet to run across five black civilians, some close associates, many of them blacks in leadership positions, that actually mean it when they said it.

The first thought that comes to my mind is f@#k you a#$hole, but I just say thanks.

When I think of the things I did, had to do, things I was exposed to, things I volunteered to do just for those same people to look me in my face and lie to me enrages me to no end, but yet, my training blocks me from doing or acting on my true feelings.

I’ve spoken to black folks here in St. Pete that are in leadership positions that could be strong advocates to help us vets fight for some of the many things that we have earned and deserved but to put it bluntly, they don’t give a damn.

You name the black “leader” here and I can tell you the exact time when I came to them and explained to them the issues vets are suffering from and each and every single one of them didn’t do a damn thing.  Some attempted to pass the buck or say there was nothing they could do like I was a fool to go to them in the first place.

Therein lays the one other issue I run into with civilians, they seem to feel or believe that their education somehow surpasses the knowledge, wisdom and experience of a military- trained individual. OMG, not to mention a Marine with actual combat experience.

Bless their hearts. I’ll leave that one alone.

Looking at the PBS documentary “VA: The Human Cost of War” just incites me even more.

I personally know many black male vets get denied compensation and health benefits intentionally at an  alarming rate than any other race at Bay Pines and I have known this for years.

Have I gone to certain organizations for help? You damn right I have. I went to a former black leader years ago and brought up a clear open and shut case of racial discrimination and I took it to a certain organization that is supposed to specialize in this and all they told me was they heard I was a hell raiser and troublemaker.

Number 45 decided to dedicate the entire month of November to us but for what? We don’t need nor do we ask for a damn hand out. Give us what you know we have earned and actually gone above and beyond what no other kind of person in America has ever and will ever do in their lifetime.

I know that being placed in a special group and seen in the eye of the world as a “hero” will and has brought about a kind of “hateration” from those that did not, could not, or would not serve.

Personally, I don’t give a damn about what prevented you from serving, it wasn’t my fault and trust me, I know my worth so nothing a civilian could ever say would ever make me feel inferior to them in any way shape or form.

Most that know me can testify that I have never intentionally spoken to them to attempt to make them feel inferior to me because of my service because I know I don’t need to.

We used to call them urinating contests (of course a different word) but they are nothing more than just ego bucking and to some extent petty.

Look, I’m not venting, arrogant or anything like that, I’m just fed up with us veterans being overlooked and treated like the sacrifice we gave to this country was nothing special when actually the very sacrifice we gave, some of my fellow vets the ultimate sacrifice, that affords you the right, privilege and opportunity to talk about me like a dog behind my back. Imagine that.

So do me a favor, if you plan to say those words to me when you see me, make sure you actually mean it or I might say something other than honorable.

Happy Veterans Day my fellow Brothers and Sisters in Arms. Semper Fi!  Nov.11

Happy Birthday my Fellow Marines, Nov. 10

Till next week,

God Bless.

Rev. Dr. Robert L. Harrison, PhD

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