By Ryan Armagost
What does the phrase “Service Over Self” mean to you? This is a common phrase among service members and veterans. To many it means to sacrifice oneself for others. That sacrifice can be as simple as ensuring all of your subordinates or guests are fed before you serve yourself. It can go as far as sacrificing your life for the lives of others. These sacrifices are common among veterans and first responders. This phrase serves as a common reminder there are much bigger challenges than the standard challenges we face on a day-to-day basis.
A simple picture of a view through the open end of a landing craft on D-Day can put this phrase into perspective. The idea these troops were drafted and sent into an unknown threat is the epitome of selfless service, walking off the opening gate into automatic gunfire and explosions impacting all around them. These Americans earned their title as the greatest generation. While the soldiers, marines and sailors were away fighting intense daily battles, their families were home battling the great depression and unknown fate of their loved ones serving overseas. That idea should help in calming any thoughts of how a traffic jam or other simple obstacle can affect your attitude each day.
I am a native Coloradan. I joined the Marine Corps infantry in 1995. I switched to the “dark side” in 2001, by joining the Colorado Army National Guard. I retired in 2017 with a total of 22 years of service. In my 22 years I was deployed overseas four times. I was deployed with the Marine Corps in 1999. I deployed to Iraq in the years of 2003 and 2008. I then deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2015. I am proud of the service for which I volunteered.
I am frequently told, “Thank you for your service.” My response is usually either, “Thank you” or “It’s my pleasure.” The humbling part for me is the fact that I volunteered for my service. I enlisted on my own accord. I was not drafted, nor did I enlist to avoid being drafted. I returned from every single deployment to an overwhelming welcome from fellow Americans. The veterans who served before me did not have any of those luxuries. Those veterans were treated poorly by a good majority of the public. While I have someone offering to pay for my meal when I am in uniform, I remember the veteran who was spit on instead. I honor their service over my own.
If you ask a veteran why they joined the service, you may get a variety of responses. Some may have joined because they had to. Some may have a family history of military service. Some may not have had any other options for bettering themselves. Some joined for the benefits and tuition assistance. Others may have joined because they felt the need to serve. The prevailing connection veterans have is that we’ve all served – service for our great nation, our citizens, our communities, our history, and our future. Whether our service has good or bad memories associated, we all maintain that connection in our veteran culture.
It is my goal to bring the Berthoud area veteran community closer than it has ever been. I am a member of the Berthoud American Legion Post – “Sgt. Justin Bauer Memorial.” I am also opening a Berthoud VFW Post – “SPC Gabriel Conde Memorial.” I am retired from the military but refuse to let my service end there. I want our community’s veterans and family members to help each other get the assistance that is needed from time to time. I also want to help our community in its growth and ability to maintain the reason we all love to call Berthoud our home. Our youth are our future, and I hope to ensure they’re always aware of the sacrifices that were made to give them the things they’re entitled to as citizens. I’d also like to enlist any help that can be offered by our community members.
If you’d like to follow this journey, please stay tuned for what will be known as “Veterans’ Corner.” Thank you for your time and attention. Please reach out to me with any ideas or topics you’d like covered. I’d like to avoid politics, religion, and all of the other topics that seem to make enemies these days. Take care and stay safe.
For most information email [email protected]
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