A letter to Greg Salcido,
After seeing your classroom rant to your students about how military members are “the lowest of the low” and likely had no other options after high school I REALLY wanted to hate you. After thinking about it more I must admit you are right, my options were limited after high school. I was too small to play anything but junior college football and my 2.5 GPA didn’t exactly have Harvard and Stanford sending scholarship letters. The local economy wasn’t that great in my small town, but I probably could have kept changing irrigation pipe for six bucks an hour or gone to work at the local coal mine my dad worked at for thirty years. It shut down a couple years ago and my friends that worked there had to move away to stay employed and feed their families.
I joined the Army when I was eighteen and spent almost ten years in uniform. You are RIGHT Mr. Salcido, it did beat the other options I had at the time and I am so very thankful that it did. You see the military has always been a part of my family, my dad fought in Vietnam and his father landed at Utah Beach on D-Day. I wish I could say that I turned down offers to play major college football in some grand act of selflessness, but I wouldn’t learn anything about being selfless until I spent a few years with “the lowest of the low” as you call us.
Let me tell you a little something about those kids with no options. They are white kids from Wisconsin working side by side with black kids from Baltimore and Hispanic kids from East LA to protect your Constitutional right to say the ignorant things you do. They laugh together and they cry together. They will spend some of the best days of their life in uniform and some of the worst. They take pride in the fact that they are doing a job very few people in this country are willing to do and they do it for less than a shift manager at a fast food restaurant makes.
I used the GI Bill to get an education after my time on active duty, was twice elected student body president at a PAC12 campus, was a who's who of American University Students selection and have gone on to a fairly-successful career in government relations and politics. None of this would have been remotely possible or plausible had I not humbled myself to literally crawl in the mud with those other kids from all over this great nation who had “no better options”.
Joining the Army at eighteen was the best decision I have ever made. It provided direction, motivation and an education that made the rest of my life so much better. I have lifelong brothers with a bond that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Those are things money cannot buy. I have spent time in Battle Dress Uniform and business suits and can say from experience some of the smartest and most creative people I have called a colleague were enlisted grunts. I don’t hate you Mr. Salcido, quite the contrary. I feel profoundly sorry for you. You will never know the pride and satisfaction you can earn while serving something bigger than yourself. That is your right, but please don’t deny that opportunity to a kid who could rise above their circumstances by serving in the military. midi formal dresses
A former enlisted US Army Infantryman
The lowest of the low.