Remembering Our Veterans In The Midst Of Tragedy

It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.

– General Norman Schwarzkopf

A soldier mourns the victims of the terrorist attack at Ft. Hood, Texas. Reuters

A soldier mourns the victims of the terrorist attack at a makeshift memorial on Ft. Hood, Texas. Photo by Reuters

Last week we had a terrible tragedy here in Texas. A terrorist (he can only be described as that – nothing else will suffice) shot and killed 13 soldiers and civilians on Ft. Hood, Texas and wounded 29 more.

This act was an outrage, that this person who was sworn as a physician to “first do no harm” and as an officer in the United States Army to defend and uphold the Constitution committed this heinous act of murder. I quote:

The Oath of Office (for officers)“I, _____ , having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

This is the oath every officer (and enlistee in similar form) takes upon entering service in the United States Military. “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies… So help me God.” I swore that same oath as an enlistee many years ago before I volunteered for active duty during Desert Storm. And, as it turns out I was assigned to the very military installation where this recent tragedy occurred.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I loved every minute of my time in the military; on the contrary, there were many days when I asked myself why I volunteered in the first place. But thank God, I didn’t even come close to combat, unlike my friends and others who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.

During that time, I met some of the most important and personally influential martial artists I’ve trained with, and still remain friends with many of them. And to this day, I remember those times and the people I served with fondly, and I WILL say that no matter how trying some of it may have been at the time, I’m PROUD that I served, and wouldn’t trade my time in the Army for anything.

In light of all this, and on this most sorrowful of Veterans Days, I ask that you allow me tell you briefly about The Life of A Solider:

A soldier enters service knowing that he or she can be called to war at any time. Soldiers don’t choose their wars; they only choose to become soldiers.

A soldier gets up and goes to work long before most people get out of bed, and on many days their work day ends long after most people are sound asleep. A solider stands guard so their countrymen can rest soundly at night.

A soldier sleeps in tents, on the floor, in the back of a transport vehicle, on cargo straps in a plane at 10,000 feet, in the mud, in a bunk or on a rack, sitting up or lying down; their pillow might be their helmet, ruck sack, duffel, spare tire, or the bare ground. They forsake their creature comforts so their folks at home can enjoy theirs in peace.

A soldier misses home, day in and day out; 24/7/365 they long for their wives and husbands, their family, their friends, their loved ones. A soldier’s life is spent away from home so their home will still be there when they return.

A soldier mourns those who have been lost on the field of battle, as well as those who have passed on in times of peace. There is no love like that bond which is created through shared hardship and trials; a soldier remembers those who are no longer with them, and honors their memory by doing their job no matter the personal cost.

A soldier does his or her job. Whether spat on or hugged, whether criticized or praised, whether called hero or names unfair and undeserved… a soldier serves.

Do me a favor today… when you see a soldier, stop and take time to look that person in the eye while you shake his or her hand, and sincerely thank them for their sacrifice.

If You Wish To Support Those Affected By The Ft. Hood Shooting:

Officials at Fort Hood have announced the following opportunities for the public to donate to various agencies on the installation to honor the Soldiers and family members affected by the mass shooting on post last week:

Fort Hood Chaplain’s Fund

Checks can be mailed to:
Chaplain’s Fund Office
Bldg 44, 761st Tank Battalion Avenue
Fort Hood, TX 76544-5000

Checks should be made payable to “CTOF” (Chapel’s Tithes and Offerings Fund) with a note on the memo line stating “Nov. 5 Tragedy.”

Fort Hood Fisher House

Fisher House
Bldg 36015
Fisher Lane
Ft Hood Texas 76544
Call (254) 286-7927 or (254) 286-7929 for more information.

Local Chapter – American Red Cross

Killeen Red Cross
208 W. Ave. A,
Killeen, Texas 76541
Phone (254) 200-4400 or visit their website: here.

USO Fort Hood

USO Fort Hood
Building # 1871, 50th St.
Fort Hood, Texas, 76544
Phone: (254) 768-2771 or visit their website at

– M. Massie


  1. Kurt Schulenburg on November 11, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for reminding everybody, Mike. Whether or not you agree with current policies, current wars, EVERY citizen has the “right to complain” (in part) because of the sacrifices these men and women have made and continue to make.
    And, as much as this day can become a little too teary, and a solemn nod to our fallen heroes should be part of everyday… keep in mind it’s a celebration day, NOT a day of mourning. Memorial Day is when we focus on the fallen heroes; today is when we thank the ones still with us. A slap on the back, a cold beer, a heartfelt hand shake and a “thank you” should be the order of the day.

  2. Mike Massie on November 11, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Yup – thank a vet today and show them your support!

  3. BM on November 11, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I agree completely 100%. I find it very bizarre (to put it kindly), that “teaparty-ers” are called “extreme-ists” or “terror-ists”, but those terms are being kept from application to this guy…

  4. Mike Massie on November 11, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I’d sort of like to keep this about honoring the troops… but our obsession with being PC is pretty much what kept that guy in the position he was in to commit those killings. What a shame.

  5. TommyJ on November 15, 2009 at 10:25 am

    The idea that you can support and honor people who chose to fight wars when you don’t support the wars is rather silly.

    Either you love America and representative government and its government employees, or you don’t.

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