FTP: Veterans, cookies, and... Spam turkey?

Gary Karschner
Gary Karschner is the pastor at Miles First United Methodist Church

This past week I had the honor of speaking to a group of Miles students, faculty, and staff about my experiences in the military and what it means to be to be a veteran. The school had a Veteran’s Day program and I was asked to be their guest speaker. I was flattered.

I felt many students do not understand what a veteran is or how that honor was earned by those military members that served their country. I was raised in a military family so I guess I had a better understanding of what a person does in his or her military job.

As a very young boy I remember watching news stories of an armed conflict happening in a country called Vietnam. In 1965 my dad was sent to serve in that armed conflict. My dad was there in the early stages of this armed conflict that would later mature to be a full grown war.

We Americans started as advisors helping the local South Vietnamese military types learn new techniques to defend their nation against their Northern enemies. For many years this was all done under the proverbial cloak and dagger secrecy one would expect to find in a spy novel. For many years we did not want the American people to know we Americans were spending time and money in a foreign land teaching foreigners the art of war. I know this sounds a bit James Bondish, but it’s true. For many years we were teaching the underdogs how to defend themselves.

When our advising and teaching efforts were found out we went from advisors to soldiers assisting the local indigenous personnel fight a war many Americans were against. I would say many of those serious draft card burners and folks totally against our involvement in that war are gone now, but there are still many that would take up their signs and march again if they thought it would do any good.

The war in Southeast Asia was the first major conflict America ever lost and it left a bad taste in many Americans’ mouths. It was a war that will be debated for years. It was a war where we veterans, and many active military who never had the privilege to earn the title veteran, served and paid the ultimate price for their efforts. I offer my deepest respect for those who served and went before me. Please respect your American veterans all year long, not just on Veteran’s Day. Channel change.

When was the last time you washed your cookie jar? Sound strange? Well, think about it for a moment. Do you just keep dumping new cookies onto the survivors left in the jar? How many generations has your cookie jar served. Our Tupperware cookie jar is now serving grandkids. And no, it has not been washed in a few months/years. What is your favorite cookie to pull from that cookie jar? Yeah, me too.

Good luck to all the athletes as they enter into new sports or travel onward into the UIL championships. Be safe and represent your school well.

Have you bought your Thanksgiving meal ingredients yet? Things are getting slim. This may be the year new traditions, out of necessity, are born. Maybe spam turkey will be okay. Nope, not gonna happen. Be well, Gary K.