Every Wednesday: I never fail to be disgusted with advice columns, but sometimes I change things up to keep things interesting. I use my posting to salute those that I try to help.
Consider this original open letter from The Matters w/ Matt from November 11, 2020:
On this Veteran’s Day, I wanted to depart from the normal vein in that I didn’t want to salute veterans today. I wanted to salute the people that made my time in the service tolerable.
I wasn’t an angel. I had almost pledged my life to alcohol, and I was depressed often. I spent the vast majority of my time in the dark during deployment. I often didn’t excel like my promotion record showed. I let the worst fester instead of having the best linger.
But there were people that helped me get through. I had a spiritual leader that gave me “the one chance” at redemption. I had a drug and alcohol counselor that gave me “the one chance” before I was officially in the program. I had a dear pen pal, Lara, who sent me small things in the mail that broke a certain monotony. She braved what I believed to be the siren’s call of horny sailors and she is among friends to this day. My former congregation had church ladies, who had baked cookies for the entire command. They had their own children to deal with. (Their kids weren’t exactly braving anything by taking pointless philosophy classes and “finger F*cking” with their bush league friends). And I shouldn’t forget my folks, (honorary and actual) who traveled among Florida and Virginia to visit me. They tolerated my sordid exploits, foul language, and mental decline. Without you all, I would have never gotten to an honorable discharge.
The irony is that I always forgot the people that made my life as a veteran tolerable. Many of you didn’t treat me as a foreigner like many did. You act/acted as you were my shipmates all along. I would be amiss if I didn’t salute you. Making friends isn’t easy and making friends as a crazy veteran isn’t, either. You people are what every sailor needs in his home port. There is no “lone sailor” with you. On this Veteran’s Day, I must honor you. I am not ashamed. You made life a hell of a lot better. Take a bow after I ring the ship’s bell for you. Thank you again.
— Former Petty Officer 2nd Class US Navy–