62 Years and 180 Degrees Later

September 9, 2003

03/25/1941 CONNECTICUT (The Herald)—Rejected in his effort to enlist for one year of military service...Samuel J. Sargis...spent $130 and occupied a dentist chair for two hours a day for a month to make it possible for him to leave with the draft board 6-B group Friday morning."

09/09/03 WASHINGTON (AP)—" Tour of duty extended for National Guard and Reserve forces in Iraq campaign... The subject of troop rotation has been a sensitive one in the Iraq campaign, with some soldiers and their families complaining bitterly about delays in their homecoming."

Almost a year before Pearl Harbor, Sam Sargis started fighting to serve his country. The reward for his successful fight was a continuous tour of duty in the Pacific Theater lasting until after VJ day which was August 6, 1945 (you do the math). And the perks for this service? His only brother MIA in the European Theater; a headstone for his finally declared Killed In Action brother; a lifetime struggle with the lingering symptoms of a myriad of jungle diseases; and a continuing love of his country which has him giving away thousands of American flags each Memorial Day to the present.

And the funny thing...he is a living average example of his generation. He doesn’t think he made any unusual sacrifices or that there is a damned thing extraordinary about him.

I only hope that the media is classically exaggerating the bitter complaints of today’s military. For what I am certain is a very small group of scattered malcontents, their whining is a bitter stain on the honor of those who have served and continue to serve this nation with distinction.

To the complainers I say, "Shame on you." To those who continue to serve with honor, the entire nation, and Sam Sargis, say, "Thank you and may God continue to bless you".


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