Being a part of youth baseball for my sons has been such an honor and a joy. I volunteer, along with 40 to 50 other men and women here in North Kingstown every year to coach, write articles, rake the fields, hang banners, throw batting practice, and whatever North Kingstown Little League needs me to do. I work a full time job, as do many of the volunteers, and put in many hours at the field as a volunteer. Volunteering my time to help others, especially our youth baseball players, is incredibly rewarding. In my opinion, without these volunteers, our league, as we know it, would not exist.
On January 27, 1973 (nearly one year after I was born in 1972), the United States Military draft ended. The draft was used during peacetime as well as years of conflict to fill open spaces in our nation’s military services. If you were of legal age, 18, during the US Military draft period of 1940 to 1973, there was a possibility you would be selected, by the government, to serve your country in one of the many armed forces. And in 2018, you are still required to register with Selective Service on or near your 18th birthday, should the United States ever re-institute the Military draft. However, most military experts agree that the draft is unlikely to ever be reinstated.
So, every United States Military person, who has served this country in the various branches of our armed forces, since 1973, has volunteered to enter military service for their country. These proud, unselfish heroes made the ultimate commitment to their country. Maybe it was the events of 09/11, like a friend of mine from NYC. Or, perhaps being in a military family showed them the true meaning of honor and patriotism and they wanted to carry on the family tradition of service. Or, they saw the military as a place that could groom them for a better life outside of their neighborhood or city block filled with hatred, bigotry, or oppression. Whatever their motivation, the United States Military has been formed, since 1973, by citizens who willingly volunteered for military service. Wow, let me repeat that statement. Every United States Military person, who has served this country in the various branches of our armed forces, since 1973, has volunteered to enter military service for their country. In my opinion, without these brave volunteers, the United States, as we know it, would not exist.
And that fact should motivate one and all to recognize and respect those brave men and women who have fought for our country, died for our country, and continue to serve our country each and every day. Volunteering your time, your life, sacrificing your potential as a ball player, a student, a carpenter, a nurse – all in the name of service to your country. Our history is filled with stories of amazing men and women, destined for greatness in the field of education or medicine or sports, who made the ultimate sacrifice and died defending our country as a member of the United States Military. Loved ones lost, loved ones injured, loved ones returning home from military service with a physical or mental condition that was caused by fighting for our country. Again, every United States Military person, who has served this country in the various branches of our armed forces, since 1973, has volunteered to enter military service for their country.
So, today, on Memorial Day 2018, I salute you, the ultimate volunteer, for your dedication, your honor, your love of country. I recognize and respect your service to the United States and hold you in the highest respect for your unselfish commitment to defending our nation.
Happy Memorial Day to all of my extended family who proudly served in the United States Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, Marines, and National Guard.