Big Red Car here. The Boss is on the road again and is attending the Veterans Day parade in New York City while me and the housesitter are having our own little celebration. And why not?
The Boss has a funny view of things as it relates to being a Veteran. His Father, his Mother and he are all Veterans. His Father is 96 years old and is retired from the Army. So The Boss’s interest in the military is the family business kind of interest.
The Boss does not think he should be thanked for serving as, in his view, the greatest honor of his life was being entrusted with the minds, bodies and souls of American soldiers. He was a combat engineer which is the same as being in the infantry but you also get to blow stuff up and operate a lot of construction equipment. It is a lot more challenging and more fun than the infantry.
The Boss often says that everything he ever needed to know to found and run a business he learned as a platoon leader and a company commander in the Army. It was the best possible leadership training imaginable and under very physically trying conditions.
Today, you may want to thank a Veteran for his service but take a second to reflect upon how powerful military experience and service has been for our country. It has literally protected our fundamental freedoms. Veterans have served as our Presidents.
What it is not
When The Boss was a shavetail (Army slang for a green second lieutenant), he did not ever serve to protect the Second Amendment. Hell, he was in his early twenties and likely didn’t even know what the Second Amendment meant. Sorry, NRA, The Boss was not fighting for the Second Amendment.
Truth be known, The Boss had read the Constitution and had taken an oath to protect it but he really didn’t know a damn thing about it when he was in the Army. Do not ascribe to him any noble pretensions about serving to protect the Constitution, please.
Neither did The Boss ever serve to protect your right to vote. You were the farthest thought from his mind. Sorry. The Boss was just not that deep or thoughtful.
What it is
The Boss loved being in charge and had spent four years at VMI learning to be a leader — really awakening the leadership potential that resides in all of us. Every person has a leader inside. You just need to friction to expose it.
Nobody was ever born knowing how to be a platoon leader and there is nothing as awkward as a brand new second lieutenant — nothing — but in about six months a magic metamorphosis takes place and with the help of a damn good Platoon Sergeant suddenly our little caterpillar becomes a brilliant butterfly and is capable of commanding a platoon.
The sergeants run the Army and the officers command it. Keep that straight.
The capable platoon leader is completely dedicated to the training and welfare of his men. In this regard, it is a sacred and noble trust. Mothers lend their babies to the Army and the Army takes care of them. Platoon leaders are responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen to their own 48 men. Everything.
Here’s The Boss back in the day. He had just parachuted into a rice paddy, notice the boots.
When you become a company commander, which you will do if you don’t screw up as a platoon leader, you will get almost 200 men. Once The Boss had a grossly overstrength company with 400 men — now that was great fun.
It is an honor to be entrusted with so much responsibility as a 25 year old young man. The Boss tried to do it to the best of his ability. He did not always succeed and on occasion he had to explain how young men entrusted to his care had died. You want to grow up quick? Try a shot of that. You will suddenly become very serious. The Boss lived this.
In the end, you will become very good at being the equivalent of a Chinese feudal warlord able to maneuver a company under trying conditions. It will build incredible confidence in a young man and he will learn something about…………………………..himself.
And, that, my friends, is why The Boss wants to thank you for having allowed him to serve our sons, our Army and our Nation. It was not a noble undertaking at its beginning but it was a noble undertaking in its breadth, depth and sweep.
You allowed a young man to learn something about himself and for that The Boss is forever in your debt. Thank you for the opportunity to serve those Mother’s sons, the Army and the Nation.
To my brothers in arms — Happy Veterans Day, you earned this distinction.