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Recognizing veterans always in fashion

Sun City West Independent - 7/2/2018

Leaving a Sun City Home Owners Association CC&R Committee meeting last week, a woman walked by me and as she passed said to me, "Thank you for your


She, no doubt, made the connection because I was wearing my USS Wyoming cap, one of two ship caps I own. I also own a cap for each branch of the U.S. armed forces and a couple of military-themed T-shirts. Each, at times, draws a similar reaction from people.

In the interest of full disclosure, I never served in the U.S. military - but not from lack of trying.

In the months before my high school graduation

"a few years ago," I was looking into enlisting in the Navy. My goal was to serve on a battleship, as those vessels were back in service at that time.

However, when the recruiter saw the part of my medical history that detailed that I was born with a hole in my heart (which healed itself within about two weeks), he decided I would not make it through basic training. Never mind the fact I was a four-year football player and dabbled in basketball and track, and walked to and from school daily.

Ten years later when trying to find better employment, I tried to enlist again. The recruiter than said because of my age - the ripe old age of 28 - he doubted I would be willing to start as a seaman recruit and work my way up the ranks. I challenged him, "Give me a shot." I never got a return call.

But with my chances to serve pretty much gone, I remained grateful to those who did, and continue to do so. My respect for the military veterans is deeply rooted in family. I had three great uncles who went ashore at Normandy, my father was in the Navy, my brother, Steve, served in the Army and my nephew, Jason, was in the Army and saw combat in Operation Desert Storm. However, it goes deeper than that.

I believe strongly in the phrase, in its various forms, that it is the military veterans who pay the price for the freedom we all enjoy. So whenever I recognize someone as a veteran, whether it be because they are in uniform or they mention their service, I try to do what that woman at the SCHOA meeting did to me - thank them for their service and shake their hand.

As we celebrate our country's anniversary, please join me in shaking the hands and thanking all the veterans you can. Remember, too, that gratitude for those who served or are serving does not have to be, nor shouldn't be, reserved for only select days of the year. They deserve our thanks every single day.

Rusty Bradshaw can be reached at 623-445-2725 or rbradshaw@newszap.com.


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