By the time the Colonel was barely into his teens, he knew his calling was to serve his nation is uniform.
For much of his young adult life (the term "adult" used in the age-defined sense, not necessarily denoting any particular maturity in the Colonel's case), he self-identified with terms such as "patriot," "warrior," even "jingoist."
For the Bama bandwagon boors who have stumbled upon this post in search of a life beyond ponderous pachyderms, hound's tooth print toilet paper, and tree-killing herbicides, the term "jingoist" does not refer to one who sings jingles.
Nope, the Colonel's favorite song -- Mr. Key's poem, "The Defence of Fort McHenry," set to the tune of a popular, if difficult to sing, British social club anthem -- ain't a very catchy tune.
In fact, the Colonel has rarely sung the National Anthem.
Hard to sing with tears in your eyes and a large lump in your throat.
Suffice it to say that you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the land of the free who loves the ideals for which our nation stands more than the Colonel.
As many of the two dozen of you who subject yourselves to the drivel posted hereon will recall, the Colonel spent a goodly portion of his career commanding a goodly portion of the Marine Corps' recruiting apparatus.
No one believed in the high calling of the cause of filling our ranks, nor took to heart the slogans and ideals with which we challenged the youth of our nation, more than the Colonel.
The Colonel considers membership in the American veterans' community in general, and in the fellowship of the Marine Corps in particular, to be the second greatest collection of men and women to which anyone can aspire -- a Christian Church being the first, of course.
So it was with a particular sense of bewilderment and personal loss that the Colonel recently answered a young man's question about joining the military with: "Don't."
The Colonel can no longer in clear conscience recommend uniformed military service to our nation.
The leaders of our military -- civilian and uniformed -- have lost any semblance of moral authority, let alone direction, having succumbed shamefully to the siren song of political correctness.
Women in the infantry?
Persecution of professing Christians?
Open acceptance of "anything goes" sexuality?
Mistreatment -- downright neglect -- of veterans' suffering?
Failure to address -- with strong caring leadership -- the plague of suicide symptomatic of a huge moral leadership vacuum?
The Colonel could go on and on...
The Colonel used to respond positively to those who -- often flippantly -- expressed gratitude for his service.
This is how the Colonel now answers those perfunctory platitudes -- particularly from politicians:
"Don't insult my intelligence. If you appreciated my service even the least little bit, you would not so willfully trample the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution for which I pledged my life and for which so many of my brothers and sisters have given theirs."