In 1964 I was still in high school and struggling with the future of my life with the active draft and the very real possibility of a stint in Vietnam. I had an issue with the war in general. I wasn't convinced that it was something we really needed to do, but I had written a paper for my history class that defended John F. Kennedy and his position and reasons we were committed to the war. It seems that my real belief came out in the words I put into the paper.
Many of my friends were going with the flow. Some were just waiting until graduation, off to college and hopefully the war would be over by the time they graduated. I didn't have that option. Some left the U.S. bound for Canada to elude the draft. While I did consider it, it really wasn't a viable course of action for me. I couldn't see myself as a foot soldier so I never really considered the Army or Marine corps. I certainly wasn't going to fly anywhere with my corrected vision and less than stellar grades. So that left the Navy.
My younger brother had joined the Navy so I looked at the options available. To keep the draft off my back, I enlisted in the Naval Air Reserve 2 by 4 program while still in high school. My junior year ended and I was ordered to attend Boot Camp at Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle, it was the summer of 1964. It was a two week basic training for new recruits. Long story shortened dramatically, I was sent home half way through the training program and later in my senior year, given an honorable discharge with medical reasons. I did not qualify to be retained in the Naval Reserve. My status with the draft board changed to 4F, unsuitable for military service.
I watched as many of my schoolmates ended up drafted and on their way to Vietnam and while not close to my brother, I saw him leave twice for the Gulf of Tonkin with the VA 196 aboard the USS Constellation. I did not go. Not because I didn't want or I dodged the opportunity as so many others had, but because it seems I had bad knees. So bad the Navy didn't want them.
Over the years and even during the vets return from Vietnam I have supported our military fighting men and women for their valor in the face of war. I support them today even though I don't necessarily agree with the reasons they have been put in harms way.
I stop each Veterans day and thank those who gave us the freedoms we enjoy today even though it sometimes appears we have no idea what to do with them.
Unfortunately I will be working on Veterans Day. Here in the U.S. it is not a holiday from the retail sales world and so we work. The remodel of the upstairs is completed enough for us to begin to move our parts department back upstairs and into the newly remodeled space. It is exceptionally nice even though we lost roughly 500 square feet of storage space. We are looking at some options to ensure we have protected storage.
In each of my reviews over the years our owner has asked the same question of me; "Why can't you keep the parts department clean?" The building was old, the construction work wasn't first class, the place had taken a beating over the years and most of the employees didn't seem to care. I am about to change their outlooks as we move back upstairs. I may only have 519 days left but I'll be damned if the bosses request will go unnoticed. The department will remain clean and each of them will help. I'll post some pictures of the new digs once we have occupancy and are up and running. It is truly amazing the amount of money that has been put into this remodel and I think everyone should be proud of the efforts the family has made and is making to upgrade the facilities.
Hope everyone is safe.